1st Edition

Routledge International Handbook of Heterosexualities Studies

Edited By James Dean, Nancy Fischer Copyright 2020
    436 Pages
    by Routledge

    434 Pages
    by Routledge

    While a majority of people identify as "heterosexual" if asked about their sexual identity, what does that really mean? How did identifying as "straight" arise, particularly in relation to identifying as "queer," "lesbian," and "gay"? How are individuals socialized to view themselves and others as straight, even when many people are sexually fluid? How do institutions like government bodies, the educational system, and the family reinforce heterosexuality? This collection introduces the field of Critical Heterosexualities Studies and key lines of inquiry within the field.

    Like Masculinity Studies and Whiteness Studies, Heterosexualities Studies critically examines the dominant category and identity group in order to illuminate the taken-for-granted assumptions that surround heterosexual identities. This critical perspective questions the idea that heterosexuality is natural, normal, and biologically driven. A recurring question throughout this Handbook is: what does it mean to say that there are multiple forms of heterosexuality? The answer is provided by cases showing how straightness varies between men and women but also across different racial groups, social classes, and one’s status as trans or cisgender.

    Organized around key themes of inquiry including heterosexualities across the life course, straight identities and their intersections, the power of straightness in state politics, and the changing meaning of heterosexualities in the context of sexual fluidity, this collection provides readers with an introduction to Critical Heterosexualities Studies through important theoretical statements, key historical studies, and current empirical research. Featuring both classic works and original essays written expressly for this volume, this collection provides a state-of-the-art overview of this exciting new field in sexualities studies.

    Introduction - Thinking Straightness: An Introduction to Critical Heterosexualities Studies

    James Joseph Dean and Nancy L. Fischer

    Part 1: Origins, Histories, Theories

    1. Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence

    Adrienne Cecile Rich

    2. Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions

    Judith Butler

    3. The Invention of Heterosexuality

    Jonathan Ned Katz

    4. Critique of Compulsory Heterosexuality

    Steven Seidman

    Part 2: Heterosexualities Across the Life Course

    5. Normalizing Heterosexuality: Mothers’ Assumptions, Talk, and Strategies with Young Children

    Karin A. Martin

    6. "Your Father Wouldn’t Like It:" The Social Construction of Heterosexuality in Early Childhood

    Emily W. Kane

    7. "Coming Out": Gender, (Hetero)Sexuality and the Primary School

    Emma Renold

    8. The Ambiguity of "Having Sex": The Subjective Experience of Virginity Loss in the United States

    Laura M. Carpenter

    9. Hooking Up: Hot Heterosex or the New Numb Normative?

    Rachel Kalish and Michael Kimmel

    10. "Speaking as a Heterosexual": (How) Does Sexuality Matter for Talk-in-Interaction?

    Celia Kitzinger

    11. A Heterosexual Life: Older Women and Agency within Marriage and the Family

    Jenny Hockey, Angela Meah, and Victoria Robinson

    Part 3: Straight Identities and Intersections of Race, Class, and Gender

    12. Prisons for Our Bodies, Closets for Our Minds: Racism, Heterosexism, and Black Sexuality

    Patricia Hill Collins

    13. Displaying Heterosexuality in An Inner City

    Carissa M. Froyum

    14. Straight Women: Doing and Undoing Compulsory Heterosexuality in Post-Closeted American Culture

    James Joseph Dean

    15. "Guys are Just Homophobic": Rethinking Adolescent Homophobia and Heterosexuality

    C.J. Pascoe

    16. "Sprinkle Some Gay on my Straight": Hybrid Hegemonic Masculinities in a Post-Gay Era

    Tristan Bridges and Kendell Ota

    17. Doing Gender, Doing Heteronormativity: "Gender Normals", Transgender People, and the Social Maintenance of Heterosexuality

    Kristen Schilt and Laurel Westbrook

    Part 4: Straight States

    18. Introduction to "The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth Century America"

    Margot Canaday

    19. Uganda’s Anti-homosexuality Bill: Reflections from a Transnational Frame

    Marcia Oliver

    20. One is not Born a Bride: How Weddings Regulate Heterosexuality

    Chrys Ingraham

    21. Promoting Marriage for America: The Intimate Relationship Between the State and Heterosexuality

    Melanie Heath

    Part 5: Rethinking Sexual Fluidity, Straight Privilege, and Allyship

    22. Straight Girls Kissing: Heteroflexibility in the College Party Scene

    Leila J. Rupp, Verta Taylor and Janelle M. Pham

    23. A Mixed-Method Study of Same-Sex Kissing among College-Attending Heterosexual Men

    Eric Anderson and Mark McCormack

    24. Bud-Sex: Constructing Normative Masculinity Among Rural Straight Men That Have Sex with Men

    Tony Silva

    25. ‘Straight with a Pinch of Bi’: The Contours of Male Heteroflexibility

    Hector Carrillo and Amanda Hoffman

    26. No Homo

    Joshua R. Brown

    27. "With Allies Like These…": Toward a Sociology of Straight Allies

    Patrick R. Grzanka


    James Joseph Dean is Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University in Northern California. He is the author of Straights: Heterosexuality in Post-Closeted Culture (2014). Dean's work has appeared in Contexts, Sexualities, The Sociological Quarterly, and Sociology Compass, among others. His research interests include LGBTQ studies, Critical Heterosexualities Studies, and transgender studies.

    Nancy L. Fischer is Associate Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department at Augsburg University in Minneapolis. Nancy is a co-editor of the anthology Introducing the New Sexuality Studies (along with Steven Seidman). She also edited a special issue on contemporary heterosexuality studies for the journal The Sociological Quarterly. She is a former chair and secretary of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Sexualities. A sociologist with broad interests, she has written about incest, sexual morality, urban sustainability, and the social meaning of second-hand and vintage clothing.