Brett Abrams

Academic Queer Politics

Filed By Brett Abrams | March 04, 2009 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Marriage Equality
Tags: book proposals, queer, queer theory

How many of you political activists want to write a book about queer politics? How would your perspective be received in academia?

academic_bldg.jpgA new book series is coming out of the State University of New York Press. I would like to see if some non-academic tenured or adjunct writers take them up on the offer to be considered for a book contract.

Academics have been tagged with writing to each other. They have frequently been said to write in jargon that is as dense as mud and not something that many people want to read. Wouldn't it be fun to see if you could contribute a book to this series?

SUNY has been active in publishing and promoting works in queer studies. They have an annual prize for top dissertation or book in queer studies. Topics the press is looking for include:

  • LGBT/queer rights activism
  • same-sex marriage
  • LGBT/queer youth
  • family policies
  • changes in family formation
  • institutional discrimination
  • anti-gay rights initiatives
  • sexual citizenship
  • treatment of queer issues and people in the media
  • the uses of LGBT/queer issues in political campaigns
  • religious movements' and organizations' activism on issues related to sexuality

What would a prospective author have to do to get to the point of an evaluation?

A proposal addresses the scope, length and audience for the book. It includes a table of contents, a short abstract of the text, and a chapter-by-chapter outline. Also include an estimate on the amount of visual materials to be used and the amount of time necessary to complete the book. The submission packet includes a sample chapter and a curriculum vitae (academic experience and contact information).

Send completed proposals to:

Larin McLaughlin, Acquisitions Editor
State University of New York Press
194 Washington Avenue, Suite 305
Albany, NY 12210
Phone : 518-472-5035 / Fax : 518-432-5038

Let me know if you send in a submission and how things worked out.

It would be fascinating to hear about the specific proposals that the editors received on this topic. Perhaps once they have completed the vetting process they could be invited to guest blog on the proposals that they received.


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As a refugee from academia (albeit not in queer studies), I'm happy to see this sort of thing--and even happier to see the potential for reaching out beyond the academic community.

Hi Dana:

What was your area in academia?
I'm trained as a historian but working for the feds.

It would be great if a few non-academics published on this topics.

Hi, Brett: History, too, as it happens. Medieval intellectual history and pre-modern history of science, to be precise. (I double-majored as an undergrad in astronomy.) Lots of fun, but not too marketable. I'd like to think it's taught me something about how society and science/technology interact, though, and that's useful in this blogging world of ours.

What would you write a book about, Brett? How about you Dana?

I don't think that I'm qualified to write about queer politics.

The motivation behind this post is to see if people who have lived the experience can bring their insight into the academic world.

I'm sort of surprised/disappointed by the list of themes they are looking for.

I mean, they are specifically looking to publish Queer studies work, right? Not Gay and Lesbian studies?

The call just seems incredibly, narrow, I guess. I'm not quite sure how to phrase what I'm thinking, and it might be that my own perspective is really skewed by my areas of study - but I'd expect a list of Queer studies topics to be less domestically focused. And I mean that in both terms of the word. Domestic, like in reference to the US; or rather - there is no reference to an international or transnational frame. And also domestic, like in reference to the home and family. I feel like queer studies very much challenges, confronts, and is critical of 'family' constructions and the hetero and homonormativity often replicated by them.

I would definitely situate myself within Queer studies, academically, and yet my research really doesn't fit any of those subject areas, except maybe sexual citizenship. Maybe I've just been working in a little corner of the field, and so have an inflated impression of the amount of work out there that is more closely aligned with my own areas of interest, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising.

Hi Jo:

That is a fascinating perspective that you have to offer.

This listing of topics is not comprehensive.

You could make a strong argument for your focus and being different from majority of the proposals will probably help solidify your case!

I think I will give this a try. I only have a BA (I went back to school when I was 30's) and studied classics with heavy doses of English Lit, literary theory, and philosophy.

I'll see what I can do

Hi Kevin:

I'm thrilled that you are going todo a submission.

Remember to highlight in your proposal your specific and unique qualifications for writing on your chosen topic.

Good luck and enjoy the process of creating an argument that puts yourself in the position of expert on this chosen topic!