Intro to Queer Theory

A short, funny, and half-incorrect summary of the tenets of Queer Theory can be found here: “What the Fuck is Queer Theory?”

The earliest (1976) and then seminal (mid ’80s – early ’90s) writers of queer theory include:

  • Michel Foucault (of Discipline and Punish celebrity, and History of Sexuality)
  • Gayle Rubin (of Thinking Sex)
  • Gloria E. Anzaldúa (of Borderlands)
  • Leo Bersani (of Is the Rectum a Grave?)
  • Eve Sedgwick (of Epistemology of the Closet and Queer and Now)
  • Teresa De Lauretis (editor of the special Queer Theory issue in differences, who popularized the term “Queer Theory”)
  • Michael Warner (of Fear of a Queer Planet, who coined the term “Heteronormativity”)
  • Alexander Doty (of Making Things Perfectly Queer: Interpreting Mass Culture)
  • Judith Butler (of Gender Trouble renown)

The prominent queer theorists of late is Jasbir Puar (of Terrorist Assemblages, who coined the terms “Pinkwashing” and “Homonationalism”) and Sara Ahmed.

Many of these authors and texts can be found through the TAMU Library Catalog:

  1. History of Sexuality, vol. 1, Michel Foucault, 1976
  2. Thinking Sex, Gayle Rubin, 1984
  3. Borderlands/La Frontera, Gloria Anzaldúa, 1987
  4. Is the Rectum a Grave?, Leo Bersani, 1987
  5. Epistemology of the Closet, Eve Sedgwick, 1990
  6. Gender Trouble, Judith Butler, 1990
  7. Queer Theory, Teresa De Lauretis, 1991
  8. Queer and Now, Eve Sedgwick, 1993
  9. Fear of a Queer Planet, Michael Warner, 1993
  10. Making Things Perfectly Queer, Alexander Doty, 1993
  11. Bodies that Matter, Judith Butler, 1993
  12. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, Jasbir Puar, 2007

Other important queer writers and activists include:

  • Sarah Schulman (of ACT UP (1987-1993) and Let the Record Show (2021), who serves as an oral historian for ACT UP)
  • Julia Serano (of Whipping Girl (2007), who coined the term “Transmisogyny” and popularized the term “Cisgender”)

To go even more in-depth for an intersectional lens, and examine culture, history, statehood, capitalism, power, and politics, we recommend this series.