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The Straight State:
Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America
Margot Canaday

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]

ADDITIONAL REVIEWS:

"Princeton Professor Margot Canaday has presented us with a superb and groundbreaking analysis of the role of federal institutions in shaping the LGBT identity over the course of the 20th Century. . . . Professor Canaday's work satisfies in a way all too rarely encountered in contemporary historical writing. The Straight State opens our eyes to the role of evolving federal policies in immigration, welfare, and the military in defining homosexuality and the gay persona. . . . The Straight State is indispensable to the student of modern queer history."--Toby Grace, Out in Jersey

"Canaday contends that the emergence of state bureaucracy in the 20th-century US may be tracked through its developing definition and regulation of homosexuality. . . . While some scholars may debate the author's particular inferences from her evidence, this volume opens new ground in gender research."--Choice

"The Straight State makes three outstanding contributions: it delineates the state as a whole fresh category in the formation of gay identities; elite reform becomes more important than bottom up revolution; while she moves gay history, convincingly, right into the mainstream of historical inquiry. Canaday has, therefore, produced an extremely important book."--Kevin White, Journal of Social History

"Canaday offer[s] a much more complete record than has previously appeared in print of the law of gay-straight discrimination and its meaning in people's lives."--Felicia Kornbluh, Law & Social Inquiry

"[An] absorbing account of federal policies, [this study] makes an important intervention by showing why historians of sexuality need to pay more attention to questions of citizenship and the practices of the administrative state."--George Chauncey, American Historical Review

"[This] book contributes to an ongoing body of lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender theoretical, historical, and social research in fascinating new ways, revealing the extent to which normative critiques continue to inform queer theory and structure queer lives."--Jaime Cantrell, Feminist Formations

ADDITIONAL ENDORSEMENTS:

"A groundbreaking study that wholly revises our understanding of sexuality, citizenship, and the state. Canaday asks how and why the emerging federal bureaucracy came to define, regulate, and exclude gay men and lesbians, and her answers take us into the inner workings of the state's policing machinery. This is an important book."--Joanne Meyerowitz, author of How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States

"In this brilliant retelling of the making of American citizenship, Margot Canaday links changing understandings of national identity to changing understandings of sexuality. Her indefatigable research and wise analysis demonstrate that political judgments about immigration, military service, and welfare have been soaked with judgments about what counts as normal--or 'degenerate'--sex. The history of federal bureaucracy is suddenly a page-turner."--Linda K. Kerber, author of No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship

"This is a terrific, complex, highly original, revelatory book. Canaday very effectively argues that the powers of the federal state and the definition of 'a homosexual' as a person grew up in dynamic relation to one another in the first half of the twentieth century. Every chapter contains fascinating new material, superbly shaped to advance her narrative. I am sure this will be an influential book."--Nancy F. Cott, author of Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation

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File created: 9/23/2014

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