Recommend to your Librarian

A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory

Nikki Sullivan


This new take on Queer Theory explores the ways in which sexuality, subjectivity and sociality have been discursively produced in various historical and cultural contexts.

The book begins by putting gay and lesbian sexuality and politics in historical context and demonstrates how, and why, Queer Theory emerged in the West in the late twentieth century. It goes on to provide a detailed overview of the complex ways in which Queer Theory has been practised.

Topics covered include:

  • Race
  • Sadomasochism
  • ‘Straight’ sex
  • Fetishism
  • Community
  • Popular culture
  • Transgender
  • Performativity

Each chapter focuses on an issue or topic, provides a critical analysis of the specific ways in which it has been responded to by critics (including Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, Adrienne Rich and Laura Mulvey), and introduces key terms. Each chapter also discusses contemporary cinematic texts.

Key Features

  • Extends current accounts of Queer Theory by analysing its relation to our everyday lives
  • Provides historical overviews of key concepts such as heterosexuality, sadomasochism and fetishism
  • Up to date coverage of issues and debates
  • Examples are taken from contemporary popular cultural texts such as films, documentaries and art projects


1 The Social Construction of Same-Sex Desire: Sin, Crime, Sickness
2 Assimilation or Liberation, Sexuality or Gender?
3 Queer: A Question of Being, or A Question of Doing?
4 Queer Race
5 Performance, Performativity, Parody and Politics
6 Transsexual Empires and Transgender Warriors
7 Queering 'Straight' Sex
8 Community and Its Discontents
9 Sadomasochism as Resistance?
10 Fetishism(s) and Political Perversion
11 Queering Popular Culture


A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory is a book I will be keeping on my shelves, and I would recommend it to students new to queer theory and queer textual analysis as a reference point from whence to begin their own explorations.
- Jenny Alexander, Department of Media and Film, University of Sussex, Sexualities: Studies in Culture and Society
The book provides comprehensive coverage of the relevant issues within Queer Theory and incorporates provocative and highly contentious debates around sadomasochism, fetishism, and transgenderism.
- Linnell Secomb, Department of Gender Studies, University of Sydney