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Looking like What You Are: Sexual Style, Race, and Lesbian Identity; Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Emotion before Stonewall

Looking like What You Are: Sexual Style, Race, and Lesbian Identity; Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay... Book Reviews 461 subjects and create a sense of temporal unity that extends from a murky past into an even murkier future. But on closer inspection, the texts share two concerns. The first is that the roughly decade-long boom in queer theory and gay and lesbian studies has not fully addressed the issues of exclusion. For Walker, exclusion is local, centering on the figure of the feminine lesbian; for Nealon, it is ambivalently constitutive of a whole field, motivating the desire to find local histories within a total field of History. Second, both studies make a concerted effort to broaden the parameters of conventional work in queer history and theory to analyze—and therefore take seriously—affective responses to structural conditions. For Nealon and Walker, feelings, especially about exclusion, are never simply personal; rather, they are indications of structural conflicts that first manifest themselves to individuals. This latter insight is the engine of Walker’s book. Taking as her subject the ways in which the regimes of visibility and invisibility ‘‘are mapped against each other in the construction of minority identities,’’ Walker focuses on the lesbian who does not look like a lesbian. Around this dangerously feminized figure a host of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Literature Duke University Press

Looking like What You Are: Sexual Style, Race, and Lesbian Identity; Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Emotion before Stonewall

American Literature , Volume 75 (2) – Jun 1, 2003

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2003 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0002-9831
eISSN
1527-2117
DOI
10.1215/00029831-75-2-460
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Book Reviews 461 subjects and create a sense of temporal unity that extends from a murky past into an even murkier future. But on closer inspection, the texts share two concerns. The first is that the roughly decade-long boom in queer theory and gay and lesbian studies has not fully addressed the issues of exclusion. For Walker, exclusion is local, centering on the figure of the feminine lesbian; for Nealon, it is ambivalently constitutive of a whole field, motivating the desire to find local histories within a total field of History. Second, both studies make a concerted effort to broaden the parameters of conventional work in queer history and theory to analyze—and therefore take seriously—affective responses to structural conditions. For Nealon and Walker, feelings, especially about exclusion, are never simply personal; rather, they are indications of structural conflicts that first manifest themselves to individuals. This latter insight is the engine of Walker’s book. Taking as her subject the ways in which the regimes of visibility and invisibility ‘‘are mapped against each other in the construction of minority identities,’’ Walker focuses on the lesbian who does not look like a lesbian. Around this dangerously feminized figure a host of

Journal

American LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Jun 1, 2003

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