Contrasting queer life today and in years past, this landmark book brings together autobiographies, poetry, film studies, maps, documents, laws, and other texts to explore the meaning and practice of the word "queer". By this Shneer and Aviv mean: queer as both a form of social violence and a call to political activism; queer as played by Robin Williams and Sharon Stone and as lived by Matthew Shepard and Brandon Teena; queer in the courthouses of Washington D.C. and on the streets of hometown America. Contextualizing these contemporary stories with ones from the past, and understanding them through the analytic tools of feminist social criticism and history, the authors show what it means to be queer in America.
queer [adj: 1. differing from what is usual or ordinary; odd; singular; strange 2. slightly ill 3. mentally unbalanced 4. counterfeit; not genuine 5. homosexual: in general usage, still chiefly a slang term of contempt or derision, but lately used by some as a descriptive term without negative connotations
queer [adj: used to describe a 1. body of theory 2. field of critical inquiry 3. way of proudly identifying a group of people 4. way of seeing the world 5. sense of difference from the norm
--David Shneer and Caryn Aviv, American Queer, Now and Then
David Shneer is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Denver.
Caryn Aviv is a Marsico Lecturer and an affiliated faculty with the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Denver. Together they have coauthored Queer Jews (Routledge, 2002) and New Jews: The End of the Jewish Diaspora (NYU, 2005).