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Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader (John Hope Franklin Center Book) [Paperback]

Gayle Rubin
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Book Description

25 Feb 2012 John Hope Franklin Center Book
Deviations is the definitive collection of writing by Gayle S. Rubin, a pioneering theorist and activist in feminist, lesbian and gay, queer, and sexuality studies since the 1970s. Rubin first rose to prominence in 1975 with the publication of "The Traffic in Women," an essay that had a galvanizing effect on feminist thinking and theory. In another landmark piece, "Thinking Sex," she examined how certain sexual behaviours are constructed as moral or natural, and others as unnatural. That essay became one of queer theory's foundational texts. Along with such canonical work, Deviations features less well-known but equally insightful writing on subjects such as lesbian history, the feminist sex wars, the politics of sadomasochism, crusades against prostitution and pornography, and the historical development of sexual knowledge. In the introduction, Rubin traces her intellectual trajectory and discusses the development and reception of some of her most influential essays. Like the book it opens, the introduction highlights the major lines of inquiry pursued for nearly forty years by a singularly important theorist of sex, gender, and culture.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press (25 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822349868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822349860
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.4 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 430,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"This book brings together a canonical collection of her writing, but it is more than a reader: she rewrites the genealogy of sexuality studies, giving us a precise intellectual history of sexuality studies that recognises the pivotal role played by academic homosexuals other than the now-feted and individuated Michel Foucault. She reminds us that British sociologists such as Mary McIntosh, Jeffrey Weeks and Ken Plummer, as well as American gay historians including Esther Newton, Jeffrey Escoffier, Martha Vicinus, John D'Emilio and Jonathan Ned Katz and many more besides, ploughed this new field." Sally R. Munt, Times Higher Education "It is rare to find an intellectual who founded an entire field of sexuality studies, whose theoretical contributions have been so far-reaching, and who continues to make rich, surprising, and singular interventions. These are the essays that riveted generations and claim our attention time and again. Gayle S. Rubin gives us the material life of sexual categories, lucid and careful argumentation, extraordinary and unprecedented archives. This brilliant collection is a gift for anyone who wants to follow the formidable trajectory of the most exacting and influential intellectual of sexuality studies." Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor, Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley "Deviations offers up articles that shaped the thinking of the modern feminist LGBT movements, while contextualizing the gradual institutionalization and canonization of sexuality studies. In providing the opportunity to think through the history of American feminism, including the radicalization of feminist debates on sexuality, Deviations provides an impetus for "thinking sex" even more critically." Svati P. Shah, Women's Review of Books, November/December 2012 "Gayle S. Rubin has been breaking new intellectual ground around gender and sexuality for almost four decades. This collection of essays lets us see in one place the breadth, depth, and profound originality of her thinking. It's a wonder to behold. As I reread some familiar pieces and encountered some new ones, I was reminded how much I am in her debt." John D'Emilio, co-author of Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America "Foundational essays and commentary from America's preeminent queer feminist intellectual; a must-have for any scholar and every library." Esther Newton, author of Margaret Mead Made Me Gay: Personal Essays, Public Ideas "Gayle S. Rubin has had an incalculable impact on the study of gender and sexuality over the past 35 years. Rubin's work changed the very language and vocabulary with which we discuss sexuality and gender. She coined the terms "sex/gender system" to describe "the set of arrangements by which a society transforms biological sexuality into products of human activity" and the "Charmed Circle," which describes the normative sexual behaviors our society privileges over the marginalized practices of the queer minority. Rubin's pioneering research on gay leather communities legitimized the anthropological study of sexual subcultures and her participation in the first known lesbian S/M group, Samois, and pro-sex activism helped to de-stigmatize pornography and S/M practices in the 80s when the anti-pornography movement was at its height. In short, Gayle S. Rubin is a living legend whose writing, research, and activism both chronicled and inspired LGBT culture as we know it today... I found Rubin's openness, both as a private individual revealing the personal context of her research and as a scholar taking stock of her life's work to be a rare and valuable look inside the life of an intellectual of her magnitude. Coming from a discipline like anthropology that stresses objectivity and the erasure of the observer, Gayle S. Rubin's reader re-inscribes the personal and the human into academic study and portrays a comprehensive history of the LGBT community through the life and words of one of its most original thinkers and meticulous chroniclers." Chase Dimock, Lambda Literary Review, January 2012 "A collection of academic essays on sex, gender and politics from pioneering queer theory and activist Rubin, covering a range of topics including pornography as a focus of feminist rage, punitive US sex laws and the seemingly inexhaustible topic of gender boundaries." - Diva Magazine, April 2012 "Finally: a collection of Gayle Rubin's writings. It is long overdue and sorely needed. For those who don't know Rubin, she is a professor of anthropology and women's studies at the University of Michigan. More significantly, she is one of America's most original thinkers about sexuality, especially radical lesbian sexuality. For those who've followed her intellectual journey over the last few decades, it's good to see many of her published articles collected in a single (though hefty) volume." David Rosen, The Brooklyn Rail, June 2012

About the Author

Gayle S. Rubin is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Women's Studies, and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Historic 24 Oct 2013
A very entertaining and interesting account of the history of queer studies. You will discover yourself having a laugh while reading academic material.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To understand the history of feminism, radical sex, and the sex wars from the 1970s forward to this day 12 Feb 2013
By W. H. - Published on
Gayle Rubin's collection of essays, some fairly recent and some dating back to the 1970s, includes a great deal of historical information both by design, since anthropology must look at its context, and by default, simply because the essays cover such a wide swath of time. The author has updated some of the older essays, in a few cases by writing new essays about the older essays, all of which are patient exegeses of issues that appear simple on the surface and turn out to have deeply engaging complications. Gayle Rubin is a serious, educated, scholarly, thoughtful, careful, wry, and highly readable writer. One feature of the book I find fascinating is how extremely contemporary even the oldest of the pieces are: the concerns she addresses and the points she makes are as vital and vibrant in 2012 as they were in 1975, 1982, and 2010. "The Leather Menace" (1982, from the Samois anthology *Coming to Power*) and "The Catacombs" (1991, from Mark Thompson's *Leatherfolk*) are critical starting points for anyone involved with, as are the anthologies for which she wrote them originally. But beyond that anyone who really wants to understand the history of feminism, radical sex, and the sex wars from the 1970s forward to this day could not find a better place to start than *Deviations*.
5.0 out of 5 stars If you read Rubin, you'll like it 9 May 2014
By Aunt Mo - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A lot of Rubin's lesser known work in here. I bought it after hearing her talk about her tumultuous path toward tenure. I'd otherwise only ever read one of their essays, but I thought I'd give a few others a try as well. It's not like this is a coffee table book or a light read, but for academics it's a must-have. Requires some mental strain, at times, but only in the most rewarding way.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read! 30 Dec 2012
By Alexandra Golcher - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Gender, sex and sexuality from an anthropological and ethnographic perspective. Not only does it introduce the reader to the history of sexology and the theories and debates surrounding these issues but it is also an endlessly entertaining read. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in sex as an object of academic study.
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