New Books in French Studies Podcast
Queer Theory: The French Response
by Bruno Perreau
Listen to Roxanne Panchasi's latest podcast, in which she interviews Bruno Pereau about his new book Queer Theory: The French Response (Stanford University Press, 2016). Read Dr. Panchasi's summary below, and check out the podcast on the NBFS website.
- At once wonderfully clear and bursting with complexity, the title of Bruno Perreau‘s book, Queer Theory: The French Response (Stanford University Press, 2016) is one of my favorites of the past several years. An interrogation of the meanings of queer, theory, French, and response, the book is anchored around the anti-gay marriage demonstrations and activisms that proliferated in France during the lead-up to the passage of the 2013 Loi Taubira (a.k.a. “marriage pour tous”). The book focuses on a central claim of French opponents of gay marriage and adoption: the notion that (American) gender and queer theory is responsible for spreading homosexuality in France, and has thus contributed to the undoing of the French family and the nation as a whole.
Throughout its four chapters, the book considers the French response to queer theory in terms of fantasy and echo. This is not a book about reception in a passive or uncomplicated sense. Rather it is the study of a set of reverberations back and forth across the Atlantic that is always already a matter of translation and interpretation. Indeed, the so-called American theory that anti-gay activists have presented as a foreign menace finds much of its own inspiration in the work of French thinkers and writers. Drawing in part on a series of interviews with French feminist and queer intellectuals and activists, the book also offers critical insight regarding the meanings and anxieties surrounding minority identities and communities in contemporary France. Queer Theory will be compelling reading to anyone interested in the history and politics of sexuality, and in the possibilities of thinking and enacting change into the future, in France, in the U.S., and beyond.