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In Wild Things Jack Halberstam offers an alternative history of sexuality by tracing the ways in which wildness has been associated with queerness and queer bodies throughout the twentieth century. Halberstam theorizes the wild as an unbounded and unpredictable space that offers sources of opposition to modernity's orderly impulses.
Wildness illuminates the normative taxonomies of sexuality against which radical queer practice and politics operate. Throughout, Halberstam engages with a wide variety of texts, practices, and cultural imaginaries—from zombies, falconry, and M. NourbeSe Philip's Zong! to Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are and the career of Irish anticolonial revolutionary Roger Casement—to demonstrate how wildness provides the means to know and to be in ways that transgress Euro-American notions of the modern liberal subject. With Wild Things, Halberstam opens new possibilities for queer theory and for wild thinking more broadly.
Author: Jack Halberstam
Paperback Published October 2020 240 pages
“Where can the wild take you? With Jack Halberstam as guide, to places fabulous, cruel, soaring, undead, hilarious, dark, seductive, promising, nonprovidential. Wild Things is a brilliant phenomenology of the (more than) human condition of bewilderment. Its critique of invocations of wildness tethered to colonial, racist fantasies also marks how the figure can contribute to forms of desire bent toward the feral, the incipient, the otherwise. Wild Things is an awesome trip.” — Jane Bennett, author of Influx and Efflux: Writing Up with Walt Whitman
“How does one learn about wildness? Coming from a longtime scholar of sexuality, the animal, desire, and anarchy, Jack Halberstam's Wild Things fosters a generous archive, favoring bewilderment over a ritual turn back to order and knowing. Following this book constitutes a kind of epistemological travel and culminates in a habit of sensation, a disorderly campaign, and a queer method that will stay with you.” — Mel Y. Chen, author of Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect
"[A] creative, discipline-smashing study exploring the human attraction to 'the wild.' . . . Halberstam’s approach is equal parts academic and poetic, making for a dense and, at times, beautiful text. This is a work that demands attention, which it rewards with both insight and entertainment." — Publishers Weekly