A Queer Crip History of White Rural Nonconformity
The queer recluse, the shambling farmer, the clannish hill folk ― white rural populations have long disturbed the American imagination, alternately revered as moral, healthy, and hardworking, and feared as antisocial or socially uncouth. In Peculiar Places, Ryan Lee Cartwright examines the deep archive of these contrary formations, mapping racialized queer and disability histories of white social nonconformity across the rural twentieth-century United States.
Sensationalized accounts of white rural communities’ aberrant sexualities, racial intermingling, gender transgressions, and anomalous bodies and minds, which proliferated from the turn of the century, created a national view of the perversity of white rural poverty for the American public. Cartwright contends that these accounts, extracted and estranged from their own ambivalent forum of community gossip, must be read in kind: through a racialized, materialist queercrip optic of the deeply familiar and mundane.
Taking in popular science, documentary photography, news media, documentaries, and horror films, Peculiar Places orients itself at the intersections of disability studies, queer studies, and gender studies to illuminate a racialized landscape both profoundly ordinary and familiar.
John Boswell Prize Committee,
American Historical Association
University of Texas at Austin
King’s College London
University of California, San Diego