Jack Halberstam is Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University and the author of seven books in gender studies, theory and cultural criticism, including: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011), Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) ans Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variance (University of California Press). Halberstam’s latest book is titled Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire (Duke UP, 2020). Places Journal awarded Halberstam its Arcus/Places Prize in 2018 for innovative public scholarship on the relationship between gender, sexuality and the built environment. Halberstam is now finishing a second volume on wildness titled: The Wild Beyond: Music, Architecture and Anarchy.
In Wild Things, Jack Halberstam offers an alternative history of sexuality by tracing the ways in which wildness has been associated with queerness and queer bodies throughout the twentieth century. Halberstam theorizes the wild as an unbounded and unpredictable space that offers sources of opposition to modernity's orderly impulses. Wildness illuminates the normative taxonomies of sexuality against which radical queer practice and politics operate. Throughout, Halberstam engages with a wide variety of texts, practices, and cultural imaginaries—from zombies, falconry, and M. NourbeSe Philip's Zong! to Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are and the career of Irish anticolonial revolutionary Roger Casement—to demonstrate how wildness provides the means to know and to be in ways that transgress Euro-American notions of the modern liberal subject. With Wild Things, Halberstam opens new possibilities for queer theory and for wild thinking more broadly. Alongside other praise, Wild Things was hailed by Publisher’s Weekly as “[A] creative, discipline-smashing study exploring the human attraction to ‘the wild.’ . . . equal parts academic and poetic… a dense and, at times, beautiful text… a work that demands attention, which it rewards with both insight and entertainment.” Read a Columbia News interview with the author about the book here.
Jack Halberstam earned a B.A. in English at the University of California, Berkeley in 1985 and completed the M.A. in 1989 and PhD in 1991 at the University of Minnesota. Prior to arriving at Columbia, he taught at the University of Southern California and USC San Diego.
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Published on October 20, 2022