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Jack Halberstam

Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies, Comparative Literature, and English

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-4592
Office: KAP 462

Curriculum Vitae
Jack Halberstam

Biographical Sketch

Jack Halberstam is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity Gender Studies and Comparative Literature at USC. Halberstam works in the areas of popular, visual and queer culture with an emphasis on subcultures. Halberstam’s first book, Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (1995), was a study of popular gothic cultures of the 19th and 20th centuries and it stretched from Frankenstein to contemporary horror film. Her 1998 book, Female Masculinity (1998), made a ground breaking argument about non-male masculinity and tracked the impact of female masculinity upon hegemonic genders. Halberstam’s last book, In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives (2005), described and theorized queer reconfigurations of time and space in relation to subcultural scenes and the emergence of transgender visibility. This book devotes several chapters to the topic of visual representation of gender ambiguity. Halberstam was also the co-author with Del LaGrace Volcano of a photo/essay book, The Drag King Book (1999), and with Ira Livingston of an anthology, Posthuman Bodies (1995). Halberstam regularly speaks on queer culture, gender studies and popular culture and publishes blogs at Halberstam published a book in 2011 titled The Queer Art of Failure in August 2011 from Duke University Press and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender and the End of Normal from Beacon Press in 2012. Halberstam is currently working on a project about queer anarchy tentatively titled: The Wild.


Ph.D. , University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1/1991
M.A. English Literature, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1/1989
B.A. English Literature (with highest honors), University of California, Berkeley, 1/1985

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Tenure Track Appointments

Professor of English, Gender Studies and American Studies and Ethnicity, USC, 08/15/2004-  
Professor of Literature, University of California, San Diego, 07/01/1991-07/01/2003  

Visiting and Temporary Appointments

Visting Professor of Gender Studies, Harvard, 2005-2006   

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Judith Halberstam is a well known gender theorist, specializing in cultural studies, queer theory and visual culture. Her work on female masculinity refutes the notion that butch lesbians are just imitations of "real men" and instead locates gender variance within a lively and dramatic staging of hybrid and minority genders. Halberstam has also written a book on Gothic monstrosity in literature and film and more recently she published In A Queer Time and Place, a study of queer temporality or queer uses of time and space that are developed in opposition to the institutions of family, heterosexuality, and reproduction. Halberstam just published a new book from Duke University Press: The Queer Art of Failure. This book is about finding alternatives—to conventional understandings of success in a heteronormative, capitalist society; to academic disciplines that confirm what is already known according to approved methods of knowing; and to cultural criticism that claims to break new ground but cleaves to conventional archives.The Queer Art of Failure proposes “low theory” as a mode of thinking and writing that operates at many different levels at once. Low theory is derived from eccentric archives. It runs the risk of not being taken seriously. It entails a willingness to fail and to lose one’s way, to pursue difficult questions about complicity, and to find counterintuitive forms of resistance. Tacking back and forth between high theory and low theory, high culture and low culture, Halberstam looks for the unexpected and subversive in popular culture, avant-garde performance, and queer art. She pays particular attention to animated children’s films, revealing narratives filled with unexpected encounters between the childish, the transformative, and the queer. Failure sometimes offers more creative, cooperative, and surprising ways of being in the world, even as it forces us to face the dark side of life, love, and libido. Next year, Halberstam's book Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender and the End of Normal will be published by Beacon University Press.

Research Keywords

queer theory, visual culture, Gothic literature and the horror film, modern novel, postmodern culture, film and video, feminist theory, gender studies; science/animal studies; popular culture; animation; Holocaust studies.

Research Specialties

(Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1991) Professor of English and ASE: Critical Theory, Film & Popular Culture, Gender Studies, 19th-Century, Queer Studies.

Conferences and Other Presentations

Conference Presentations

"Transgenderism in a Global Frame", First International University Congress on Gender, Feminism and Diversities, Keynote Lecture, Paper, San Jose, Costa Rica, Institute for Women's Studies at the National Univ, Invited, 06/20/2011-06/24/2011  
"Introduction to Queer Theory", Gender Studies in a Post-Soviet Frame, Lecture/Seminar, Uzhgarod, Ukraine, George Soros Foundation, Invited, 05/02/2011-05/09/2011  
"The Traffic in Gender", Import, Export, Transport: Queer Theory in a Transnational Frame, Keynote Lecture, Vienna, Austria, University of Vienna, Invited, 04/28/2011-04/30/2011  
"The Queer Art of Failure", Spring 2011 Weiss lecturer in Feminist Theory and Practice, Lecture/Seminar, Middletown, CT, Wesleyan University, Invited, 04/07/2011-04/08/2011  
"Like A Pelican in the Wilderness: The Afterlife of the Kindertransport", Lecture/Seminar, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, The Center for Holocaust Studies, Invited, 10/12/2010  
""Transgender in a Global Frame"", Fazendo Genero, Plenary Speaker, Florianopolis, Brazil, Gender Studies, Invited, 08/19/2010-08/20/2010  
""Unbecoming"", Lecture/Seminar, University of Zurich, Switzerland, English Department, Invited, 04/26/2010  
""Shadow Feminisms"", Annual York Cultural History Conference, Keynote Lecture, York University, UK, History Department, York U, Invited, 04/22/2010-04/24/2010  
""Shadow Feminisms," ", Translegalité: Law and Literature Association of Australia, Keynote Lecture, Brisbane, Australia, Griffith University, Invited, 12/02/2009-12/05/2009  
""The Killer in Me is the Killer in You: Homosexuality and Fascism," ", Lecture/Seminar, NYU, SCA, Invited, 10/19/2009  
"Animating Animals", Meet Animal Meat, Keynote Lecture, Uppsala, Sweden, Center for Gender Research, University of Uppsala, Invited, 05/22/2009-05/23/2009  
"Feminism and Negation,", Lecture/Seminar, Lund, Sweden, University of Lund, Invited, 05/18/2009  
"Queer Theory and Negativity", Theory Now, Lecture/Seminar, Bergen, Norway, University of Bergen, Invited, 05/14/2009-05/17/2009  
"Queer Faces", Fotografica Bogotá 2009 - Biennale, Talk/Oral Presentation, Bogotá, Colombia, Foto Bogotá Art Museum, Invited, 05/03/2009-05/06/2009  
"Cut Ups: Feminism, Performance, Collage", Invited Annual Lecture in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies , Keynote Lecture, Leeds, England, UK, University of Leeds, Invited, 02/16/2009  
"Collage and Queer/Feminist Negativity", Lecture/Seminar, Coventry, England, UK, University of Warwick, Invited, 02/15/2009  
"The Queer Art of Failure", 7th International Contemporary Art Experts Forum of ARCO'09 , Lecture/Seminar, Madrid, Spain, ARCO Madrid, Invited, 02/12/2009-02/14/2009  
"Queering Masculinity in a Global Frame", Il Coloquio Internacional De Estudios Sobre Varones Y Masculinidades , Keynote Lecture, Medillin, Colombia, Univeridad De Los Andes, Invited, 12/02/2008-12/05/2008  
"Female Masculinity ", Lecture/Seminar, Universidad De Los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia, Invited, 12/02/2008-12/03/2008  
"Queer Temporality, Masochism and Negation", Sexualities In and Out of Time Conference , Keynote Lecture, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, University of Edinburgh, Invited, 11/27/2008-11/29/2008  
""Global Female Masculinity"", Masculinities, Keynote Lecture, Universidad Autonomia, Mexico City, Mexico, Invited, 10/24/2007-10/26/2007  
""Losing Hope, Finding Nemo and Searching for Alternatives"", Cultural Studies Now, Plenary, London, England, University of East London, Invited, 07/21/2007-07/24/2007  
""Zwischenzug: The Aesthetic of the Unexpected,"", Closing Night Lecture for Art Show, Ludwig Museum, Köln, Germany, Invited, 11/12/2006  
""Transbiology," ", European Association of Science Studies and Technology, PLENARY ADDRESS, Lausanne, Switzerland, Invited, 08/24/2006  



Halberstam, J. (2011). The Queer Art of Failure. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Halberstam, J. (2011). Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender and the End of Normal. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Halberstam, J. M. (2005). In A Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives. New York, NY: New York University Press.
Halberstam, J. M. (1998). Female Masculinity, Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1998. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Halberstam, J. (1995). Posthuman Bodies. Co-Edited with Ira Livingston, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1995. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.
Halberstam, J. M. (1995). Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and The Technology of Monsters. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1995. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Book Chapter

Halberstam, J. (2011). "Unfound". Cruising the Archive: Queer Art and Culture in LA pp. 158-161. Los Angeles, CA: ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.
Halberstam, J. M. (2010). Unbecoming: Queer Negativity/Radical Passivity. Sex, Gender and Time in Fiction and Culture pp. 22 pp. London: Palgrave.

Conference Proceeding

Halberstam, J. M. "Transgender in a Global Frame". Frankfurt, Germany.
Halberstam, J. M. "Transgender in a Global Frame". Chicago, IL.


Halberstam, J. M., Eng, D., Munoz, J. E. (2005). Special Issue of Social Text:. pp. 1-250. Duke University Press.

Multimedia Scholarship and Creative Works

Blogging, Regular blogger on Blogs selected for national circulation in 2010., 2010-2011   

Honors and Awards

USC or School/Dept Award for Teaching, GE Award for Undergraduate Teaching, 2008-2009   
Honorary Visiting Professor at Roehampton University, London, 2006-2007   
Distinguished Visiting Professor, Carleton College, MN, 4/25/2007-4/29/2007  
Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Alberta, CA, 1/22/2007-1/29/2007  
Compton-Noll Award for Best LGBT essay, 2001  
UCSD Humanities Center Fellowship, 2001  
Nominee for two Lambda Book Awards for "Female Masculinity", 1998  

Service to the Profession

Editorships and Editorial Boards

Perverse Modernities, Duke University Press Book Series, 09/2003-  
Board of Editors, Member, GLQ, 2009-2010   
Editorial Board Member, Thirdspace:A Journal of Feminist Theory and Culture, 2008-2009   

Professional Memberships

MLA, 2010-2011   
American Studies Association, 01/15/2005-01/15/2009  
American Association of Geographers, 01/01/2005-01/01/2006  
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