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Queer Theory: An Introduction Paperback – February 20, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0814742341 ISBN-10: 0814742343
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Annamarie Jagose knows that queer theory did not spring full-blown from the head of any contemporary theorist. It is the outcome of many different influences and sources, including the homophile movement, gay liberation, and lesbian feminism. In pointing to the history of queer theory—a history that all too often is ignored or elided—Jagose performs a valuable service."

-Henry Abelove,co-editor of The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader

About the Author

Annamarie Jagose is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Melbourne, and the author of Lesbian Utopics. Her novel In Translation won the PEN Award for Best First Fiction in 1994.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (February 20, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814742343
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814742341
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #373,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Christopher W. Chase on November 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Jagose's slim book is a historical/genealogical account of queer theory, placing it in a historical context of growing gay and lesbian liberation movements, from the homophile movement of the Mattachine Society to lesbian feminism, gay liberation, and the appropriation of the term queer as a strategic term. The essence of modern queer theory as proposed here is to move beyond "identity politics" in gay and lesbian studies. The proposal of any sexual orientation as normative, whether straight or gay, is counter to the deconstructive tendencies of queer theory, which problematizes the whole notion of "orientation" or "gender" or "sexuality." Some have called queer theory the "deconstruction" of gay and lesbian studies, where shifting and unstable sexual identities are destablized in favor of open-ended and multiple readings of cultural phenomena.
This points to the stormy reception queer theory has recieved. Some have argued that this deconstruction of sexual orientation and gender serves the political interests of the right-wing, preserving male and heterosexist hegemony while undermining women's voices and progressive politics. Queer theory, like bisexuals, poses a "crisis of meaning" for many who wish to carve out a safe and protective space for gays and lesbians. As gay and lesbian studies have often relied on sexual orientation/sexual identity as a fundamental category, queer theory attempts to destablize this "bedrock," revealing the power structures and discursive limits within.
The main qualm I have with this book is its relative lack of literary and artistic culture and the role different authors and figures played in the shifts within queer culture. The book would be all the stronger for the inclusion of such material.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Sparks (sparkles@pobox.com) on March 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
The author, demonstrating knowledge that can only be termed encyclopaedic, gives an excellent overview of a diverse body of literature devoted to the issues of gender, sexuality and identity. After reading this book I have a firm understanding of the evolution of queer theory and the bibliography will prove invaluable in reading further about various aspects of this fascinating subject. The book is especially valuable as it gives mention to various movements, such as homophile, gay liberation and lesbian feminist, in an Australian as well as American context. Be warned though, you may find it handy to have a dictionary around.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. Waren on March 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
Author Annamarie Jagose does a good job of highlighting the top scholars in the queer studies field and putting them together in one, concise volume. As a media communications scholar with an emphasis in queer studies I found this book immensly helpful. Jagose does a good job of chronicling history as well, so that the reader gets an insight of what was going on historically in the gay rights movement. I applauded the chapter also on lesbian feminism since that is often left out of many queer studies books. Highly recommended for scholar new to this field. While the definition(s) of "queer" are hard to define, I can at least appreciate someone who can make some sense of an often confusing and muddy subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RBrooks on December 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
As a graduate student, I ran across several references to this book, and decided that reading it would be essential in gaining a better understanding of queer studies. I don't regret committing the energy I did to reading it. The book is slim but dense. Jagose nimbly covers a vast swath of LGBTQI history while also outlining thorny arguments within the gay "community" concerning identity politics and nomenclature. Probably the best chapter in the work is on Lesbian Feminism; here Jagose carefully outlines lesbian and feminist concerns of giving primacy to gender over sexuality in denaturalizing queer discourse. It is not at all an easy chapter to grasp, but I would rank its importance EXTREMELY high in getting to the heart of the historically exclusionary effects the gay and feminist movements have had for lesbians. This is an outstanding place to start in beginning a foray into LGBTQI studies; the thought of Eve Kosofsky-Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Michelle Foucault, and Adrienne Rich all figure prominently. I question her arranging the book in narrative form as though there is a "story" to queer studies and wonder how such a configuration may relate to the theorization of queer temporality. I would LOVE to see it re-written and re-released in light of all the developments that have transpired over the last twenty years. It would certainly benefit from an added chapter on media and / or visual culture, and definitely a chapter on a discussion of the queer body / embodiment.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
This well-written, small book provides an introduction to the tenets of academic 'queer theory'. The first half traces queer's historical context in the homophile, lesbian feminist and identity politics movements. In the second half, queer's post-modern response to these discourses is lucidly delineated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alex on August 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jagose knows the term "queer" didn't come out of anywhere. She does a good job relating the term to different times in culture. She also does a good job in relating the terms homo and heterosexual to different times. She compares the terms and talks about how one could not exist without the other. It's a really good and insightful read.
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