In Ethereal Queer, Amy Villarejo offers a historically engaged, theoretically sophisticated, and often personal account of how TV representations of queer life have changed as the medium has evolved since the 1950s. Challenging the widespread view that LBGT characters did not make a sustained appearance on television until the 1980s, she draws on innovative readings of TV shows and network archives to reveal queer television's lengthy, rich, and varied history. Villarejo goes beyond concerns about representational accuracy. She tracks how changing depictions of queer life, in programs from Our Miss Brooks to The L Word, relate to transformations in business models and technologies, including modes of delivery and reception such as cable, digital video recording, and online streaming. In so doing, she provides a bold new way to understand the history of television.
"Amy Villarejo, already an important and increasingly influential voice in the fields of film theory, gender, and sexuality, here presents a dramatically new intervention in both television theory and debates over queer representation. Ethereal Queer moves beyond concerns about visibility and positive images to provide valuable ways of understanding the force of television in the twentieth century, bringing media studies and continental philosophy into vibrant and productive dialogue." - Jeffrey Sconce, editor of Sleaze Artists: Cinema at the Margins of Taste, Style, and Politics "Elegantly written, often witty and even moving, this thought-provoking book is both tightly focused and ambitious in its approach to television and queerness. Amy Villarejo offers brilliant insights into theoretical and televisual texts, repeatedly providing new ways of confronting and moving beyond the intersection of sexuality and television." - Patricia White, Professor of English Literature and Film Studies, Swarthmore College "Whether she's citing Theodor Adorno or Amistead Maupin, pondering Our Miss Brooks or American Family, Amy Villarejo channels her lifelong love of television while at the same time analyzing its function as a "pragmatic pedagogy of queer life." I couldn't ask for a better TV Guide than this set of gripping meditations that dares to dream so brilliantly on our behalf." - B. Ruby Rich, author of New Queer Cinema: The Director's Cut
Amy Villarejo is Professor of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University. She is the author of "Lesbian Rule: Cultural Criticism and the Value of Desire," also published by Duke University Press, and "Film Studies: The Basics"; coauthor of the BFI Film Classics volume "Queen Christina"; and coeditor of "Keyframes."