Race, Class, and the Lesbian-Feminist Roots of Queer Theory
"Queer theory," asserts Linda Garber, "alternately buries and vilifies lesbian feminism, missing its valuable insights and ignoring its rich contributions." Rejecting the either/or choice between lesbianism and queer theory, she favors an inclusive approach that defies current factionalism. In an eloquent challenge to the privileging of queer theory in the academy, Garber calls for recognition of the historical--and intellectually significant--role of lesbian poets as theorists of lesbian identity and activism.
The connections, Garber shows, are most clearly seen when looking at the pivotal work of working-class lesbians/lesbians of color whose articulations of multiple, simultaneous identity positions and activist politics both belong to lesbian feminism and presage queer theory. Identity Poetics includes a critical overview of recent historical writing about the women's and lesbian-feminist movements of the 1970s; discussions of the works of Judy Grahn, Pat Parker, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, and Gloria Anzaldúa; and, finally, a chapter on the rise and hegemony of queer theory within lesbigay studies.
"A provocative and sophisticated book that challenges the presumed opposition between lesbian feminism and queer theory and rethinks orthodox notions about identity politics." — Bonnie ZimmermanSan Diego State University
"Identitiy Poetics is a thoughtful, provocative, and engaging book. Careful to aknowledge the ideas of others, Garber sets a wonderful tone for her arguements, one of allied scholarship rather than academic crossfire." — Gay and Lesbian Review
"Garber's readings of Parker, Grahn, Rich, Lorde and Anzaldúa are simply breathtaking—they demand as much of the poets as they do of the critics. With intelligence, humor, genius, and respect for an archive that has captivated and vexed us all, Identity Poetics forces scholars in the field to think long and hard before they attempt to theorize or historicize anything; it will remind them of what they've forgotten. Garber dares to believe that different generations of feminists still have something to say to one another. After reading this book, our use of words like 'lesbian'and 'feminist'will be forever changed." — Sharon P. Holland, author of Raising the Dead: Readings of Death and (Black) Subjectivity
Introduction: Race, Class, and Generations
1. The Social Construction of Lesbian Feminism
2. Putting the Word Dyke on the Map: Judy Grahn
3. "I Have a Dream Too'': Pat Parker
4. "High Over the Halfway Between Your World and Mine'': Audre Lorde
5. An Uncommonly Queer Reading: Adrienne Rich
6. "Caught in the Crossfire Between Camps'': Gloria Anzaldúa
7. Around 1991: The Rise of Queer Theory and the Lesbian Intertext
Afterward, March: June 24, 2000, San Francisco