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Peter Barry

Introduction Queer theory emerged prominently as a distinct field only by the 1990s – there is nothing about it, for instance, in Terry Eagleton's Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983), or in the first edition of Raman Selden's A Reader's Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory (1985). As with women's studies twenty years before, the growing significance and acceptance of this new field is indicated by the presence of ‘queer theory’ sections in many mainstream bookshops and publishers’ academic catalogues, and by the establishment of relevant

in Beginning theory (fourth edition)
Communist sexuality in the flow during and after the Cold War
Author:

"An influential concept in North American queer studies, gender has been forged as part of the anti-communist Cold War and became one of its key analytics at the beginning of the 1990s. In tracing the conceptual history of gender, this book de-centers queer studies and provides an innovative approach by excavating a rival communist sexuality during the Cold War. As opposed to a theory of gender, eastern European Marxism generated a revolutionary imagination that had at its core a dialectical understanding of bodies and sexual acts. This communist understanding of sexuality centered on a productive body that was better able to feel and live than its capitalist counterpart.

The book is original not only because it analyzes competitive models of Cold War sexuality, but also because it inserts historical materialism into queer theory. By drawing on materials from socialist theory, queer studies and communist films, it moves from the 1920s to the 1950s to the 1990s to understand the emergence of contemporary sexual categories. It traces the rise of gender and queer by studying the shared and complicated history of communist history and queer theory. It also provides a new dialectical method by juxtaposing socialist theory and films with queer anti-racist theory. In doing so, it offers a sensuous materiality that transforms the epistemology of a queer of color analytic. The book is an essential contribution to a scholarship that interrogates queer liberalism and new formations of anti-gender ideology.

Bogdan Popa

queer left seeks to move away from its specialized object of research – sexuality –, break the impasse between queer and working-class politics, and unpack distinct and overlapping conceptions of social positionality and subjectivity. 3 Hearing to the invitation to think about Marxism and queer theory together, De-centering queer theory has a similar ambition to introduce

in De-centering queer theory
Bogdan Popa

only in the Unites States but also in the socialist bloc. In drawing on films and artwork, I investigate how gender and non-normative sexuality were mobilized to reject socialism in the East. In the second part of the chapter, I focus on the theoretical split of queer theory from Marxism. Queer theory, the product of post-identitarian theory, initiated an analysis of power

in De-centering queer theory
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Queer Theory‘s Debt to the Gothic
Mair Rigby

Focusing on the productive sense of recognition that queer theorists have articulated in relation to the Gothic, this article proposes that the relationship which has developed between queer theory and Gothic fiction reveals the significant role the genre has played in the construction of ‘queerness’ as an uncanny condition.

Gothic Studies
Lynn Orilla Scott

James Baldwin criticism from 2001 through 2010 is marked by an increased appreciation for Baldwin’s entire oeuvre including his writing after the mid 1960s. The question of his artistic decline remains debated, but more scholars find a greater consistency and power in Baldwin’s later work than previous scholars had found. A group of dedicated Baldwin scholars emerged during this period and have continued to host regular international conferences. The application of new and diverse critical lenses—including cultural studies, political theory, religious studies, and black queer theory—contributed to more complex readings of Baldwin’s texts. Historical and legal approaches re-assessed Baldwin’s relationship to the Civil Rights and Black Power movements and new material emerged on Baldwin’s decade in Turkey. Some historical perspective gave many critics a more nuanced approach to the old “art” vs. “politics” debate as it surfaced in Baldwin’s initial reception, many now finding Baldwin’s “angry” work to be more “relevant” than “out of touch” as it was thought of during his lifetime. In the first decade of the new millennium, three books of new primary source material, a new biography, four books of literary criticism, three edited collections of critical essays, two special issues of journals and numerous book chapters and articles were published, marking a significant increase not only in the quantity, but the quality of Baldwin criticism.

James Baldwin Review
Ernest L. Gibson III

James Baldwin might be imagined as reaching his greatest level of popularity within this current decade. With the growth of social media activist movements like Black Lives Matter, which captures and catalyzes off a Baldwinian rage, and the publishing of works directly evoking Baldwin, his voice appears more pronounced between the years of 2013 and 2015. Scholars in Baldwin studies, along with strangers who were turned into witnesses of his literary oeuvre, have contributed to this renewed interest in Baldwin, or at least have been able to sharpen the significance of the phenomenon. Publications and performances highlight Baldwin’s work and how it prefigured developments in critical race and queer theories, while also demonstrating Baldwin’s critique as both prophetic and “disturbingly” contemporary. Emerging largely from Baldwin’s timelessness in social and political discourse, and from the need to conjure a figure to demystify the absurd American landscape, these interventions in Baldwin studies follow distinct trends. This essay examines the 2013–15 trends from four vantages: an examination of a return, with revision, to popular work by Baldwin; identifying Baldwin’s work as a contributor to theoretical and critical methodology; Baldwin and intertextuality or intervocality; and a new frontier in Baldwin studies.

James Baldwin Review
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Queer theory, literature and the politics of sameness
Author:

In its contributions to the study of material social differences, queer theoretical writing has mostly assumed that any ideas which embody 'difference' are valuable. More than this, where it is invoked in contemporary theory, queerness is often imagined as synonymous with difference itself. This book uncovers an alternative history in queer cultural representation. Through engagement with works from a range of queer literary genres from across the long twentieth century – fin-de-siècle aestheticism, feminist speculative fiction, lesbian middle-brow writing, and the tradition of the stud file – the book elucidates a number of formal and thematic attachments to ideas that have been denigrated in queer theory for their embodiment of sameness: uselessness, normativity, reproduction and reductionism. Exploring attachments to these ideas in queer culture is also the occasion for a broader theoretical intervention: Same Old suggests, counterintuitively, that the aversion they inspire may be of a piece with how homosexuality has been denigrated in the modern West as a misguided orientation towards sameness. Combining queer cultural and literary history, sensitive close readings and detailed genealogies of theoretical concepts, Same Old encourages a fundamental rethinking of some of the defining positions in queer thought.

Michael Eberle-Sinatra

In his analysis of the evolution of sexuality in society in Making Sexual History, Jeffrey Weeks comments that, following a series of major challenges throughout the twentieth century (ranging from Freud‘s work to the challenges of feminism and queer politics), ‘sexuality becomes a source of meaning, of social and political placing, and of individual sense of self ’. This special issue of Gothic Studies intends to foster further research on the topic of queer sexuality. This is research which has already been underway for some time but it has not always been interdisciplinary in nature, as is the case for these five articles, in their discussion of theatre, cinema, and literature or literary conventions borrowed from Gothic novels.

Gothic Studies
Queering Alien Resurrection
Brenda Boyle

The critical response to Alien Resurrection marked a departure from negative responses to Alien3. Oblivious to the films parting from the trilogys characterization as ‘simultaneously feminist and gynophobic’, some critics remained steadfast to that trope, insisting ‘Ripley is still the same person.’ Critics of the trilogy determined its sub-text to be concerned with gender and reproduction and went on to assert the same of Alien Resurrection. Where the trilogy offered a vision of Ripley,through a heterocentric lens, with blurred but visible divisions between monstrous and human, (and what distinguished them had to do with means of reproduction), AlienResurrection eradicates boundaries so it becomes impossible to determine whether ‘normal’ human or monster, can even exist in this world. The issue of sexuality becomes paramount to the issue of reproduction and gender. In the course of the trilogy, gender is made obsolete; Alien Resurrection finishes the job in rendering terms of sexual normalcy immaterial. The alien queen who has mutated into a parthenogenetically reproducing creature is described as ‘perfect’; what kind of meaning can that sort of reproduction or creature have in a heterocentric world? This world and its inhabitants are beyond heterosexuality, and perhaps beyond sexuality as we know it. Consequently, reconsidering AlienResurrection through a queer lens which inquires into sexuality offers a fuller and more fruitful reading than does one through gender or the biological labyrinth of reproduction.

Gothic Studies