By Jack Halberstam

About Jack Halberstam

Jack Halberstam is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. When not trying to compress an entire cultural history into one keyword, Halberstam works on subcultures, queer epistemologies, music, and visual media. Halberstam’s most recent books are The Queer Art of Failure and Gaga Feminism, and Halberstam’s next book will be a cultural appraisal of queer anarchy titled The Wild.


In American studies and cultural studies, as in the humanities more broadly, scholars use the term “gender” when they wish to expose a seemingly neutral analysis as male oriented and when they wish to turn critical attention from men to women. In this way, a gender analysis exposes the false universalization of male subjectivity and remarks on the differences produced by the social marking we call “sex” or “sexual difference.” Poststructuralist feminist theory queries this common usage by suggesting that the critique of male bias or gender neutrality comes with its own set of problems: namely, a premature and problematic stabilization of the meaning of “woman” and “female.” In 1990, Judith Butler famously named and theorized the “trouble” that “gender” both performs and covers up. In doing so, she consolidated a new form of gender theory focused on what is now widely (and variably) referred to as “performativity.” In recent …

Collectivities, Disciplinarities, Embodiments
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