According to David Halperin, sexuality in our time is typified by a "crisis in contemporary sexual definition". What is sexuality? What does it mean to have a sexual identity or orientation? What is the relationship between sexuality as a knowledge construct, on one hand, and the often messy flows of desire and practices of love, on the other? How and why are some sexual, erotic, and intimate practices normalized and others marginalized?
Queer Theory has emerged in the West as one of the most provocative analytical tools in the humanities and social sciences. It scrutinizes identity and social structures that take heteronormativity for granted – that do not question the social construction of heterosexuality as normative in relation to its oppositional binary, homosexuality. At the same time, bisexuality is a practice, identity, and orientation that challenges the binary logic around which cultural notions of sexuality are organized. It is a portal to the imagination of a world of amorous expression beyond that divide.
This provocative collection presents bisexuality and queer theory as two parallel thought collectives that have made significant contributions to cultural discourses about sexual and amorous practices since the onset of the AIDS era, and explores the ideas that circulate in these thought collectives today. We learn much about the construction and experience of sexuality, and the power it still holds throughout the contemporary Western world to shape identities and practices. This volume challenges our understanding of what it means to be sexual, to have a sexual identity, and to practise the arts of loving.
This book was orginally published as a special issue of the Journal of Bisexuality.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Bisexuality and Queer Theory: Intersections, Diversions, and Connections, Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio and Jonathan Alexander Part I: Theories 2. Playing with Butler and Foucault: Bisexuality and Queer Theory, April S. Callis 3. Queerying Theory and Politics: The Epistemic (Dis)Location of Bisexuality within Queer Theory, Maria Gurevich, Helen Bailey and Jo Bower 4. Reclaiming Sexual Difference: What Queer Theory Can’t Tell Us About Sexuality, Susan Feldman 5. Bisexuality In Psychoanalytic Theory: Interpreting the Resistance, Esther Rapoport Part II: Readings 6. Queering Queer Theory, or Why Bisexuality, Matters, Laura Erickson-Schroth and Jennifer Mitchell 7. Refusing Butler’s Binary: Bisexuality and Performative Melancholia in Mrs. Dalloway, Nowell Marshall 8. Plural Happiness: Bi- and Poly-Triangulation in Balasko’s French Twist, Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio Part III: Socialities 9. ‘All the world is queer save thee and me…’: Defining Queer and Bi at a Critical Sexology Seminar, Meg Barker, Christina Richards and Hellen Bowes-Catton 10. Adjusting the Borders: Bisexual Passing and Queer Theory, Jessa Lingel 11. Compulsory Bisexuality? The Challenges of Modern Sexual Fluidity, Breanna Fahs Part IV: Responses 12. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Bisexual, David Halperin
Jonathan Alexander is Professor of English and Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of California, Irvine, USA. His books include Finding Out: An Introduction to LGBT Studies (2008, with Deborah Meem and Michelle Gibson) and Literacy, Sexuality and Pedagogy: Theory and Practice for Composition Studies (2008).
Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio is a scholar, writer, activist, teacher, and cultural theorist. Her book of ecosexual theory, Gaia and the New Politics of Love is a 2010 Nautilus Winner. She is editor of BiTopia (2011, with Brian Zamboni), Bisexuality and Queer Theory (2010, with Jonathan Alexander), Plural Loves: Designs for Bi and Poly Living (2005), and Women and Bisexuality: A Global Perspective (2003). Her memoir, Eros: A Journey of Multiple Loves, was a 2007 Lambda finalist. She is Professor of Humanities at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez.