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Art Critique Essay History Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

Gay Shame

By David M. Halperin and Valerie Traub, 2010

Ever since the 1969 Stonewall Riots, “gay pride” has been the rallying cry of the gay rights movement and the political force behind the emergence of the field of lesbian and gay studies. But has something been lost, forgotten, or buried beneath the drive to transform homosexuality from a perversion to a proud social identity? Have the political requirements of gay pride repressed discussion of the more uncomfortable or undignified aspects of homosexuality? Gay Shame seeks to lift this unofficial ban on the investigation of homosexuality and shame by presenting critical work from the most vibrant frontier in contemporary queer studies. An esteemed list of contributors tackles a range of issues—questions of emotion, disreputable sexual histories, dissident gender identities, and embarrassing figures and moments in gay history—as they explore the possibility of reclaiming shame as a new, even productive, way to examine lesbian and gay culture.

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