Ten years ago queer' was a term of abuse; now it is routinely, although controversially, used as self-description. Queer Theory traces the intriguing history of same-sex sex over the last century through the mid-century homophile movements, gay liberation, the women's movement and lesbian feminism to the new concept of queer. Annamarie Jagose investigates the arguments of the supporters and opponents of queer theory, finding that its strength lies in its potential to question the very idea of sexual identities. By blending insights from contemporary intellectual theories like post-structuralism and from the work of theorists like Judith Butler, Jagose argues that queer theory's challenge is to create new ways of thinking about not just heterosexuality and homosexuality but also such seemingly given fixed notions as sexuality' and gender', even man' and woman'. Queer Theory demonstrates a radical, exciting new way of analysing human identity itself.
Annamarie Jagose is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of the critical work Lesbian Utopics and the novel In Translation, which won the PEN Award for Best First Fiction in 1994.