Virtual Gender: Fantasies of Subjectivity and Embodiment

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Overview

This collection breaks new ground in the area of gender studies both because it creates a name for gender fantasy--virtual gender--that introduces a new understanding of the concept, and in expanding the idea of virtuality to include people and events in history. The essays in Virtual Gender help identify and name the persistent cultural desire for an imaginative space in which to "put on" alternative gender identities, while examining as well the equally persistent and consequent critique of that desire.

The sweep of the volume's coverage is impressive, ranging across historical periods and academic disciplines, as contributors consider the place of the body in gender fantasy and the consequences of gender fantasy for real people and real bodies. The essays investigate figures and topics including Amelia Earhart, soap-opera chat groups, Elizabeth I, mesmerism, lesbianism in the early modern period, cybergames, women in the federalist period, the transgendered body, and performance art. Also examined are the status of embodiment, the origins of gender, gender politics, the pains of subjectivity, the uses of utopian fantasy, technological advances and information technology, the experience of gendered communities, and the role of gender in global politics.

Contributors include Harriette Andreadis, Seyla Benhabib, Charlotte Canning, Bernice Hausman, Janel Mueller, Mary Ann O'Farrell, Kay Schaffer, Sidonie Smith, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, Helen F. Thompson, Lynne Vallone, and Robyn Warhol. The book will appeal to an interdisciplinary audience of scholars, critics, and students with interests in gender, identity, and cyberculture.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472097081
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 1/4/2000
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Virtually Modern Amelia: Mobility, Flight, and the Discontents of Identity 11
Virtue and Virtuality: Gender in the Self-Representations of Queen Elizabeth I 37
Gender, or the King's Secret: Franz Anton Mesmer's Magnetic Public Sphere 65
The Inevitable Virtuality of Gender: Performing Femininity on an Electronic Bulletin Board for Soap Opera Fans 91
Remembering and Forgetting: Feminist Autobiography in Performance 108
Theorizing Early Modern Lesbianisms: Invisible Borders, Ambiguous Demarcations 125
The Game Girls of VNS Matrix: Challenging Gendered Identities in Cyberspace 147
Constituting Nations / Violently Excluding Women: The First Contract with America 171
Virtual Sex, Real Gender: Body and Identity in Transgender Discourse 190
Sexual Difference and Collective Identities: The New Constellation 217
Contributors 245
Index 249
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