This edited collection explores the deeper contexts and consequences surrounding the murder of Matthew Shepard. This young gay man was brutally beaten and left tied to a fence on a chill Wyoming night in October 1998. Found the next morning by two cyclists, he was transported to a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado where he died five days later. His murder was one of the most publicized and for some, most vividly remembered, instances of hate crime related violence based on sexual orientation.
Twenty years after his death, Matthew Shepard’s story is at a critical turning point: memories of his murder and its meanings can either fade into the past or be reinvigorated to make up part of more meaningful investigations into LGBTQ and modern U.S. history. The multidisciplinary contributors to this book blend personal narrative with more conventional academic approaches to offer a 20-year retrospective that re-examines the subject of Shepard’s murder, whilst also bringing to light questions of historical memory, rurality, race, and public policy. Each of the disciplines and genres included contributes unique understandings of the murder and responses to it that cannot be articulated solely through traditional academic writing. This collection then not only tells the story of Matthew Shepard in the context of 2018, but also provides a compelling view of how and through which means American culture communicates painful histories of violence, bias, and death.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part I: Where It All Started Chapter 1: Go Back, Young Man, Go Back: Peeling Away the Layers of Wyoming Culture, Down To the Earth Chapter 2: The Matt Stuff Part II: Beyond Wyoming Chapter 3: Matthew Shepard 20 Years Later: Social, Political, and Hate Crimes' Impact in Rural America Chapter 4: Metronormativity as Legacy: Matthew Shepard, Gay Rights, and Rural Place Chapter 5: Affective Aesthetics of Violence: A Legacy of Matthew Shepard Part III: Back to the Beginning Chapter 6: Whiteboard Chapter 7: Laramie Inside out: Reflections 20 Years Later, Bibliography
Helis Sikk is a Postdoctoral Fellow at DePauw University, USA. Her research takes a multidisciplinary approach to the relationships between queerness, affect, the built environment, communities, media and visual cultures. She is currently working on her monograph, which traces the affective genealogy of anti-LGBTQ violence since the 1960s.
Leisa Meyer is Community Studies Professor of AMST, History, and GSWS and the Director of the AMST Program at William and Mary, USA. Her research has engaged military history, gender/women’s history, LGBTQ history/studies, and the history of sexuality. She is the author of Creating G.I. Jane: Sexuality and Power in the Women’s Army Corps and the co-editor (with Matt Richardson) of Transgender Studies and Race, Feminist Studies, Volume 37, No. 2 (Summer 2011).