The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America

The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America

by Margot Canaday
     
 

"A groundbreaking study that wholly revises our understanding of sexuality, citizenship, and the state. Canaday asks how and why the emerging federal bureaucracy came to define, regulate, and exclude gay men and lesbians, and her answers take us into the inner workings of the state's policing machinery. This is an important book."—Joanne Meyerowitz, author

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Overview

"A groundbreaking study that wholly revises our understanding of sexuality, citizenship, and the state. Canaday asks how and why the emerging federal bureaucracy came to define, regulate, and exclude gay men and lesbians, and her answers take us into the inner workings of the state's policing machinery. This is an important book."—Joanne Meyerowitz, author of How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States

"In this brilliant retelling of the making of American citizenship, Margot Canaday links changing understandings of national identity to changing understandings of sexuality. Her indefatigable research and wise analysis demonstrate that political judgments about immigration, military service, and welfare have been soaked with judgments about what counts as normal—or 'degenerate'—sex. The history of federal bureaucracy is suddenly a page-turner."—Linda K. Kerber, author of No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship

"This is a terrific, complex, highly original, revelatory book. Canaday very effectively argues that the powers of the federal state and the definition of 'a homosexual' as a person grew up in dynamic relation to one another in the first half of the twentieth century. Every chapter contains fascinating new material, superbly shaped to advance her narrative. I am sure this will be an influential book."—Nancy F. Cott, author of Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691149936
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/25/2011
Series:
Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

PART I: Nascent Policing

Chapter 1: IMMIGRATION

"A New Species of Undesirable Immigrant": Perverse Aliens and the Limits of the Law, 1900-1924 19

Chapter 2: MILITARY

"We Are Merely Concerned with the Fact of Sodomy": Managing Sexual Stigma in the World War I-Era

Military, 1917-1933 55

Chapter 3: WELFARE

"Most Fags Are Floaters": The Problem of "Unattached Persons" during the Early New Deal, 1933-1935 91

PART II: Explicit Regulation

Chapter 4: WELFARE

"With the Ugly Word Written across It": Homo-Hetero Binarism, Federal Welfare Policy, and the 1944 GI Bill 137

Chapter 5: MILITARY

"Finding a Home in the Army": Women's Integration, Homosexual Tendencies, and the Cold War Military, 1947-1959 174

Chapter 6: IMMIGRATION

"Who Is a Homosexual?": The Consolidation of Sexual Identities in Mid-twentieth-century Immigration Law, 1952-1983 214

Conclusion 255

Index 265

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