This new take on queer theory brings ideas about the self, sexuality and society together. The text begins by putting gay and lesbian sexuality and politics in historical context and demonstrates how, and why, queer theory emerged in the West in the late 20th century. It goes on to provide a detailed overview of the complex and sometimes contradictory ways in which queer theory has been practised. Many of the most recent debates are discussed, including: "straight" sex; sadomasochism; identity politics; fetishism; performativity; transsexualism; popular culture; race; and community. Each chapter considers a central issue, provides historical and cultural background, defines key terms and introduces the ideas of influential theorists including Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Derrida, Helene Cixous, Judith Butler, Leo Bersani and Laura Mulvey. Each theory is grounded through discussion of a contemporary film.
Nikki Sullivan is an Associate Professor of Critical and Cultural Studies and Director of the Somatechnics Research Centre at Macquarie University.