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Issue Brief: Sexuality Studies

Jonathan Alexander
University of California, Irvine

Michael J. Faris
Penn State University

The intersection of sexuality studies and writing studies has recently garnered increasing attention across the various sub fields of composition and rhetoric.  Scholars, theorists, and pedagogues inquire both about the situation of LGBT people within writing studies classrooms and in varied rhetorical contexts, as well as what theories of sexuality, such as queer theory, might tell us about the discursive construction and normalization of sexualities and genders as exercises of power.  A recent article in _CCC_ by Jonathan Alexander and David Wallace (“The Queer Turn in Composition Studies: Reviewing and Assessing an Emerging Scholarship.”  _College Composition and Communication_, Volume 61.1. September 2009) summarizes many of the major modes of inquiry pitched at the intersection of sexuality and writing studies.  Forthcoming work will increasingly explore varied queer contributions to our understanding of rhetorical practice and oratory.

Relevant Web Sites

Queer Rhetoric Wiki

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Language, Discourses, and Rhetorics: A Bibliography for Composition And Rhetoric

Studies on LGBTQ Language: A Partial Bibliography

Lavender Languages & Linguistics Conference

Relevant Journal

MEAT, A Journal of Writing & Materiality

Relevant Organization

CCCC Queer Caucus (on Facebook)


Compiled by Michael J. Faris

Books and Dissertations

Alexander, Jonathan. Literacy, Sexuality, Pedagogy: Theory and Practice for Composition Studies. Logan, UT: Utah State UP, 2008.

Antle, Martine, and Dominique Fisher, eds.The Rhetoric of the Other: Lesbian and Gay Strategies of Resistance in French and Francophone Contexts. New Orleans: UP of the South, 2002.

Anzaldúa, Gloria. Boderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. 2nd ed. San Francisco, Aunt Lute Books, 1999.

Chesbro, James W., ed. Gayspeak: Gay Male and Lesbian Communication. New York: Pilgrim, 1981.

Gil-Gómez, Ellen M. Performing La Mestiza: Textual Representations of Lesbians of Color and the Negotiation of Identities. New York: Routledge, 2000.

Goncalves, Zan Meyer. Sexuality and the Politics of Ethos in the Writing Classroom. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 2006.

Grindstaff, David A. Rhetorical Secrets: Mapping Gay Identity and Queer Resistance in Contemporary America. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 2006.

Leap, William L. Beyond the Lavender Lexicon: Authenticity, Imagination, and Appropriation in Lesbian and Gay Languages. Luxembourg: Gordon and Breach, 1995.

Leap, William L., and Tom Boellstorff. Speaking in Queer Tongues: Globalization and Queer Tongues. Urbana, IL: U of Illinois P, 2004.

Livia, Anna, and Kira Hall. Queerly Phrased: Language, Gender, and Sexuality. New York: Oxford UP, 1997.

Malinowitz, Harriet. Textual Orientations: Lesbian and Gay Students and the Making of Discourse Communities. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1995.

McRuer, Robert. Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability. New York: New York UP, 2006.

Morris, Charles E., III, ed. Queering Public Address: Sexualities in American Historical Discourse. Columbia, SC: U of South Carolina P, 2007.

Nelson, Cynthia D. Sexual Identities in English Language Education: Classroom Conversations. Routledge, 2008.

O'Riordan, Kate; David J. Phillips, ed. Queer Online: Media Technology and Sexuality. New York: Peter Lang, 2007.

Ridinger, Robert B., ed. Speaking for Our Lives: Historic Speeches and Rhetoric for Gay & Lesbian Rights (1892-2000). Binghamton: Haworth, 2004.

Ringer, R. Jeffrey, ed. Queer Words, Queer Images: Communication and the Construction of Homosexuality. New York: New York UP, 1994.

Spurlin, William J., ed. Lesbian and Gay Studies and the Teaching of English. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2000.

Valentine, David. Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2007.

Yep, Gust A., Karen E. Lovaas, and John P. Elia, eds. Queer Theory and Communication: From

Disciplining Queers to Queering the Discipline(s). Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press, 2003.

Special Issues of Journals

Pre-Text 13.3-4 (1992)

Abou-Rihan. “Being-Gay/Becoming-Lesbian.” Pre-Text 13.3-4 (1992)

Chinn, Sarah, Mario DiGangi, and Patrick Horrigan. “A Talk with Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.” Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory 13.3-4 (1992): 79-95.

Cope, Karin M. “‘Publicity is Out Pride’ 1: The Passionate Grammar of Gertrude Stein.” Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory 13.3-4 (1992): 123-136.

Cummings, Kate. “The Double Scene of Televized AIDS Campaigns.” Pre/Text 13.3-4 (1992)

Hirsh, David A. H. “De-Familiarizations, De-Monstrations.” Pre/Text 13.3-4 (1992)

Malinowitz, Harriet. “Construing and Constructing Knowledge as a Lesbian or Gay Student Writer.” Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory 13.3-4 (1992): 37-?

Morrison, Margaret. “Laughing with Queers in My Eyes: Proposing ‘Queer Rhetoric(s)’ and Introducing a Queer Issue.” Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory 13.3-4 (1992): 11-36.

Patton, Cindy. “In Vogue: The ‘Place’ of ‘Gay Theory.’ Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory 13.3-4 (1992): 151-157.

Moss, Roger. “The Rhetoric that Dare Not Speak Its Name.” Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory 13.3-4 (1992): 109-122.

Waldrep, Shelton. “Delezuian Bodies: Not Thinking Straight in Capitalism and Schizphrenia.” Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory 13.3-4 (1992): 137-?

College English 65.1 (2002)

Kopelson, Karen. “Dis/Integrating the Gay/Queer Binary: ‘Reconstructed Identity Politics’ for a Performative Pedagogy.” College English 65.1 (2002): 17-35.

Wallace, David L. “Out in the Academy: Heterosexism, Invisibility, and Double Consciousness.” College English 65.1 (2002): 53-66.

Spurlin, William. “Theorizing Queer Pedagogy in English Studies after the 1990s.” College English 65.1 (2002): 9-16.

Computers and Composition 21.3 (2004)

Alexander, Jonathan, and William P. Banks. “Sexualities, Technologies, and the Teaching of Writing: A Critical Overview.” Computers and Composition 21.3 (2004): 273-293.

Barrios, Barclay. “Of Flags: Online Queer Identities, Writing Classrooms, and Actions Horizons.” Computers and Composition 21.3 (2004): 341-361.

Peters, Brad, and Diana Swanson. “Queering the Conflicts: What LGBT Students Can Teach Us in the Classroom and Online.” Computers and Composition 21.3 (2004): 295-313.

Reilly, Colleen A. “Sexualities and Technologies: How Vibrators Help to Explain Computers.” Computers and Composition 21 (2004): 363-385.

Rhodes, Jacqueline. “Homo Origo: The Queer Manifest.” Computers and Composition 21 (2004): 387-390.

Computers and Composition Online (Fall 2004)

Rhodes, Jacqueline, ed. “Sexualities, Technologies, and Literacies: Metonymy and Materiality Online.” Special Issue. Computers and Composition Online (Fall 2004):

“Queerness, Sexuality, Technology, and Writing: How Do Queers Write Ourselves When We Write in Cyberspace?” A MOO conversation among Jonathan Alexander, Barclay Barrios, Samantha Blackmon, Angela Crow, Keith Dorwick, Jacqueline Rhodes, and Randal Woodland. Computers & Composition Online. Fall 2004 (

JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory 24.1 (2004)

Alexander, Jonathan, and Michelle Gibson. “Queer Composition(s): Queer Theory in the Writing Classroom.” JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory 24.1. (2004): 1-21.

Cooper, Jan. “Queering the Contact Zone.” JAC 24.1 (2004): 23-45.

McRuer, Robert. “Composing Bodies; or, De-Composition: Queer Theory, Disability Studies, and Alternative Corporealities.” JAC: A Quarterly Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Rhetoric, Culture, Literacy, and Politics 24.1 (2004): 47-78.

Monson, Connie, and Jacqueline Rhodes. “Risking Queer: Pedagogy, Performativity, and Desire in Writing Classrooms.” JAC 24.1 (2004): 79-91.

Rhetoric and Public Affairs 10 (Winter 2007)

Morris, Charles E., III. Guest Editor, “Special Issue: The AIDS Quilt at 20: Commemoration and Critique of the Epidemic Text.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 10 (Winter 2007): 557-721.

Southern Communication Journal 74 (September 2009)

Morris, Charles E., III. Guest Editor, “Special Issue: Queering the South.” Southern Communication Journal 74 (September 2009): 233-324.

Journal Articles

Alexander, Jonathan. “Beyond Identity: Queer Values and Community.” Journal of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Identity 4.4 (1999): 293-314.

Alexander, Jonathan. “Homo-Pages and Queer Sites: Studying the Construction and Representation of Queer Identities on the World Wide Web.” The International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies 7.2-3 (2002): 85-106.

Alexander, Jonathan. “Out of the Closet and into the Network: Sexual Orientation and the Computerized Classroom.” Computers and Composition 41.2 (1997): 207-216.

Alexander, Jonathan. “Transgender Rhetorics: (Re)Composing the Body in Narratives of Gender.” College Composition and Communication. 57.1 (2005): 45-82.

Alexander, Jonathan. “‘Straightboyz4Nsync’: Queer Theory and the Composition of Heterosexuality.” JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory. 25.2 (2006): 371-395.

Alexander, Jonathan, Samantha Blackmon, Will Banks, and Martha Marinara. “Cruisin’ Composition Texts: Negotiating Sexual Difference in First-Year Readers.” College Composition and Communication (in press)

Alexander, Jonathan, and Jacqueline Rhodes. “Technologies of the Self in the Aftermath: Affect, Subjectivity, Composition.” Rhetoric Review. Forthcoming

Alexander, Jonathan, and David Wallace. “Queer Rhetorical Agency: Questioning Narratives of Heteronormativity.” JAC. Forthcoming

Alexander, Jonathan, and David Wallace. "The Queer Turn in Composition Studies: Reviewing and Assessing an Emerging Scholarship." College Composition & Communication 61.1 (Sept 2009): 300-320.

Banks, Will. “Written Through the Body: Disruptions and ‘Personal’ Writing.” College English 66.1 (2003): 21-40.

Bennett, Jeffrey A. “Passing, Protesting, and the Arts of Resistance: Infiltrating the Ritual Space of Blood Donation” Quarterly Journal of Speech 94.1 (February 2008): 23-43.

Blackburn, Mollie. “Exploring Literacy Performances and Power Dynamics at the Loft: ‘Queer Youth Reading the World and the Word.’” Research in the Teaching of English 37.4 (May 2003): 467-490.

Brouwever, Daniel C. “Counterpublicity and Corporeality in HIV/AIDS Zines.” Critical Studies in Media Communication 22.5 (2005): 351-371.

“Checklist of Sources: The Homosexual Imagination.” College English 36.3 (1974): 401-404.

Crew, Louie. “To [Richard] Fulkerson and [D. T.] Svoboda.” College English 37.1 (1975): 83-84.

DeWitt, Scott Lloyd. “Out There on the Web: Pedagogy and Identity in Face of Opposition.” Computers and Composition 14 (1997): 229-243.

Elliot, Mary. “Coming Out in the Classroom: A Return to the Hard Place.” College English 58.6 (1996): 693-708.

Fraiberg, Allison. “Electronic fans, interpretive flames: Performing queer sexualities in cyberspace.” Works and Days 13.1/2 (1995).

Fulkerson, Richard. “A Liberated Editorial Policy.” College English 37.1 (1975): 81-83.

Gibson, Michelle, Martha Marinara, and Deborah Meem. “Bi, Butch, and Bar Dyke: Pedagogical Performances of Class, Gender, and Sexuality.” College Composition & Communication 52.? (2000): 69-95.

Gross, Larry. “The Past and the Future of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies.” Journal of Communication (2005): 508-528.

Hayes, Joseph J. “Gayspeak.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 62.3 (1976)

Highberg, Nels. “‘Because We Were Just Too Scared’: Rhetorical Constructions of Patient Zero. Medical Humanities Review 18.1-2 (Spring and Fall 2004): 9-26.

Libretti, Tim. “Sexual Outlaws and Class Struggle: Rethinking History and Class Consciousness from a Queer Perspective.” College English 67.2 (2004): 154-171.

Morris, Charles E., III. “Archival Queer.” Rhetoric and Public Affairs 9.1 (2006): 145-51.

Morris, Charles E., III. “Passing by Proxy: Collusive and Convulsive Silence in the Trial of Leopold and Loeb.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 91 (August 2005): 264-290.

Morris, Charles E., III. “Pink Herring and the Fourth Persona: J. Edgar Hoover’s Sex Crime Panic.” The Quarterly Journal of Speech 88 (May 2002): 228-244.

Morris, Charles E., III. “‘The Responsibilities of the Critic’: F. O. Matthiessen’s Homosexual Palimpsest.” The Quarterly Journal of Speech 84 (August 1998): 261-282.

Morris, Charles E., III, and John M. Sloop. “‘What Lips These Lips Have Kissed’: Refiguring the Politics of Queer Public Kissing.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 3 (March 2006): 1-26.

Rand, Erin J. “An Inflammatory Fag and a Queer Form: Larry Kramer, Polemics, and Rhetorical

Agency.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 94.3 (2008): 297-319.

Slagle, R. Anthony. “In Defense of Queer Nation: From Identity Politics to a Politics of Difference.” Western Journal of Communication 59.2 (1995)

“Some Notes of a Homosexual Teaching Assistant in His First Semester of Ph.D. Work.” College English 36.3 (1974): 331-336.

Stanley, Julia P. “When We Say ‘Out of the Closets!’” College English 36.3 (1974)

Stokes, Ashli Quesinberry. “Constituting Southern Feminists: Women’s Liberation Newsletters in the

South.” Southern Communication Journal 70.2 (2005): 91-108.

Tate, Helen. “The Ideological Effects of a Failed Constitutive Rhetoric: The Co-option of the Rhetoric of White Lesbian Feminism.” Women’s Studies in Communication 28.1 (2005): 1-31.

Winans, Amy E. “Queering Pedagogy in the English Classroom: Engaging with the Places Where Thinking Stops.” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture 6.1 (2006): 103-122.

Woodland, Randall. “‘I Plan to Be a 10’: Online Literacy and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students.” Computers and Composition 16.1 (1999): 73-87.

Book Chapters

Alexander, Jonathan, and William P. Banks. “Queer Eye for the Comp Program: Towards a Queer Critique of WPA Work.” The Writing Program Interrupted: Making Space for Critical Discourse. Ed. Donna Strickland and Jeanne Gunner. Boynton/Cook, 2009. 86-98.

Alexander, Jonathan, and Elizabeth Losh. “A YouTube of One's Own: Coming Out as Rhetorical Action.” LGBT Identity and New Online Media. Forthcoming

Alexander, Jonathan, Carlos Velez, and Mack McCoy. “‘A Real Effect on the Gameplay’: Computer Gaming, Sexuality, and Literacy.” Gaming and Literacy. Ed. Gail Hawisher and Cynthia Selfe. Palgrave Press, 2007. 167-190.

Bergman, David. “Strategic Camp: The Art of Gay Rhetoric.” Camp Grounds: Style and Homosexuality. Amherst, MA: U of Massachusetts P, 1993. 92-109.

Highberg, Nels. “When Heroes Fall: Dough Wright’s I Am My Own Wife and the Challenge to Truth.” Get Real: Documentary Theatre Past and Present. Ed. Alison Forsyth and Chris Megson. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. 167-178.

Morris, Charles E., III. “Hard Evidence: The Vexations of Lincoln’s Queer Corpus.” Rhetoric, Materiality, and Politics. Ed. Barbara Biesecker and John Lucaites. New York: Peter Lang, 2009.

Morris, Charles E., III. “My Old Kentucky Homo: Lincoln and the Politics of Queer Public Memory.” Framing Public Memory. Ed. Kendall R. Phillips. Tuscaloosa, AL: U of Alabama P, 2004. 84-114.

Morris, Charles E., III. “Sexuality and Public Address Studies.” Rhetoric and Public Address in the Twenty-First Century: A Handbook. Ed. Shawn Parry-Giles and J. Michael Hogan. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2010.

Owen, A. Susan. “Disciplining ‘Sextext’: Queers, Fears, and Communication Studies.” In Queer Theory and Communication: From Disciplining Queers to Queering the Discipline(s). Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press, 2003. 297-317.

Silberman, Steve. “We’re Teen, We’re Queer, and We’ve Got E-mail.” Composing Cyberspace: Identity, Community, and Knowledge in the Electronic Age. Ed. Richard Holeton. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998. 116-120.

Tsang, Daniel. “Notes on Queer ‘n’ Asian Virtual Sex.” The Cybercultures Reader. Ed. David Bell and Barbara M. Kennedy. London: Routledge, 2000. 432-438.

Woodlan, Randall. “Queer Spaces, Modern Boys and Pagan Statues: Gay/Lesbian identity and the Construction of Cyberspace.” The Cybercultures Reader. Ed. David Bell and Barbara M. Kennedy. London: Routledge, 2000: 416-431.

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