Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2016
Rural queer experience is often hidden or ignored, and presumed to be alienating, lacking, and incomplete without connections to a gay culture that exists in an urban elsewhere. Queering the Countryside offers the first comprehensive look at queer desires found in rural America from a genuinely multi-disciplinary perspective. This collection of original essays confronts the assumption that queer desires depend upon urban life for meaning. By considering rural queer life, the contributors challenge readers to explore queer experiences in ways that give greater context and texture to modern practices of identity formation. The book’s focus on understudied rural spaces throws into relief the overemphasis of urban locations and structures in the current political and theoretical work on queer sexualities and genders. Queering the Countryside highlights the need to rethink notions of “the closet” and “coming out” and the characterizations of non-urban sexualities and genders as “isolated” and in need of “outreach.” Contributors focus on a range of topics–some obvious, some delightfully unexpected–from the legacy of Matthew Shepard, to how heterosexuality is reproduced at the 4-H Club, to a look at sexual encounters at a truck stop, to a queer reading of TheWizard of Oz. A journey into an unexplored slice of life in rural America, Queering the Countryside offers a unique perspective on queer experience in the modern United States and Canada.