Lesbian Death

Lesbian Death

Desire and Danger between Feminist and Queer

Mairead Sullivan

Engaging with fears of lesbian death to explore the value of lesbian beyond identity

224 Pages, 6 x 9 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781517910020
  • Published: November 29, 2022
BUY
  • eBook
  • 9781452964409
  • Published: November 29, 2022
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  • Hardcover
  • 9781517910013
  • Published: November 29, 2022
BUY

Details

Lesbian Death

Desire and Danger between Feminist and Queer

Mairead Sullivan

ISBN: 9781517910020

Publication date: November 29th, 2022

224 Pages

8 x 5

"Mairead Sullivan’s refreshing book delves deeply into the decades-long dynamic in which the lesbian—as figure, identity, and political project—is somehow always already dying even as younger and older generations infuse the lesbian with new and vital promise. Analyzing fears of lesbian death registered in narratives of loss, aggression, murderousness, bed death, and so many wars (sex wars, theory wars, butch-fem border wars, intersectionality wars, and TERF wars), this engaging work trenchantly illuminates the disruptive potential and undeniable persistence of the lesbian at the heart of the often-tense relations among feminist, queer, and trans articulations of community."—Finn Enke, author of Finding the Movement: Sexuality, Contested Space, and Feminist Activism

"Lesbian Death is a thoroughgoing analysis of the work of ‘the lesbian’—especially tales of her imminent demise—in discourse and culture. Neither romanticized nor maligned, here, the figure of the lesbian is vital to queer/trans/feminist world-making. A generous and generative contribution to queer and lesbian studies, Mairead Sullivan’s treatment is timely and inspired."—Angela Willey, author of Undoing Monogamy: The Politics of Science and the Possibilities of Biology

"A compelling and timely book to think with, especially for those of us invested in building more just feminist, queer, trans, and lesbian worlds, whatever language we use to do so."—Autostraddle

 


Engaging with fears of lesbian death to explore the value of lesbian beyond identity
 

The loss of lesbian spaces, as well as ideas of the lesbian as anachronistic has called into question the place of lesbian identity within our current culture. In Lesbian Death, Mairead Sullivan probes the perception that lesbian status is in retreat, exploring the political promises—and especially the failures—of lesbian feminism and its usefulness today. 

Lesbian Death reads how lesbian is conceptualized in relation to death from the 1970s onward to argue that lesbian offers disruptive potential. Lesbian Death examines the rise of lesbian breast cancer activism in San Francisco in conversation with ACT UP, the lesbian separatist manifestos “The C.L.I.T. Papers,” the enduring specter of lesbian bed death, and the weaponization of lesbian identity against trans lives. 

By situating the lesbian as a border figure between feminist and queer, Lesbian Death offers a fresh perspective on the value of lesbian for both feminist and queer projects, even if her value is her death. 

Mairead Sullivan is associate professor of women’s and gender studies at Loyola Marymount University.