PERFORMING ARTS

Queering the South on Screen

Univ. of Georgia. Apr. 2020. 314p. ed. by ed. by Tison Pugh. ISBN 9780820356532. $99.95; pap. ISBN 9780820356723. $34.95. FILM
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This essay collection, edited by Pugh (English, Univ. of Central Florida; Queer Chivalry: Medievalism and the Myth of White Masculinity in Southern Literature), brings together 12 chapters of queer readings and theorizations of the American South in television and movies. In his introduction, Pugh provides a synthesis of the topics addressed in the book as well as a brief but deep dive into the theoretical underpinnings of this volume. He warns against monolithic conceptualizations of “the South” and of “queer,” while noting that both concepts have been instrumentalized to define an “other” against which the rest of the United States and its heterosexual population are normalized. Chapters are grouped into five “modes of queerness”: literary adaptation, gothic, homosocial anxiety, kinship, and camp. Pugh acknowledges the anthology’s focus on white, cisgender, gay male life and concomitant paucity of other LGBTQ+ identities and communities; readers interested in Southern lesbian or Black queer film, for example, should seek other texts.
VERDICT Recommend to patrons interested in film/media studies, regional/area studies, queer theory, or the South. Readers should be comfortable with cultural studies writing and its frequent use of various forms of critical theory.

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