Breanne Fahs is Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University, where she specializes in studying women's sexuality, critical embodiment studies, radical feminism, and political activism. She has a B.A. in women's studies/gender studies and psychology from Occidental College and a Ph.D. in women's studies and clinical psychology from the University of Michigan. She has published widely in feminist, social science, and humanities journals and has authored four books: Performing Sex (SUNY Press, 2011), an analysis of the paradoxes of women's "sexual liberation," Valerie Solanas (Feminist Press, 2014), a biography of author/would-be assassin Valerie Solanas, Out for Blood (SUNY Press, 2016), a book of essays on menstrual activism and resistance, and Firebrand Feminism (University of Washington Press, 2018), a book about radical feminist histories and their links to contemporary problems of sex, gender, and justice. She has also co-edited two volumes: The Moral Panics of Sexuality (Palgrave, 2013), a collection that examines cultural anxieties of "scary sex," and Transforming Contagion (Rutgers University Press, 2018), a collection about the dangers and subversive potential of contagion. Her most recent book is Women, Sex, and Madness: Notes from the Edge (Routledge, 2019), a book of her essays about women's sexuality in the chaotic and "mad" cultural context of contemporary gender relations. Her next book will be Burn it Down! Feminist Manifestos for the Revolution, a collection of historical and contemporary feminist manifestos (Verso, due out 3/24/20). She is the founder and director of the Feminist Research on Gender and Sexuality Group at Arizona State University, and she also works as a clinical psychologist in private practice where she specializes in sexuality, couples work, and trauma recovery.
New book is here! Women, Sex, and Madness: Notes from the Edge hits shelves this month. Check it out here.
Covering a wide variety of subjects and points of inquiry on women's sexuality, from genital anxieties about pubic hair to constructions of the body in the therapy room, this book offers a ground-breaking examination of women, sex, and madness, drawing from psychology, gender and sexuality studies, and cultural studies. Breanne Fahs argues that women’s sexuality embodies a permanent state of tension between cultural impulses of destruction and selfishness contrasted with the fundamental possibilities of subversiveness and joy. Emphasizing cultural, social, and personal narratives about sexuality, Fahs asks readers to imagine sex, bodies, and madness as intertwined, and to see these narratives as fluid, contested, and changing. With topics as diverse as anarchist visions of sexual freedom, sexualized emotion work, lesbian haunted houses, and the insidious workings of capitalism, Fahs conceptualizes sexuality as a force of regressive moral panics and profound inequalities―deployed in both blatant and more subtle ways onto the body―while also finding hope and resistance in the possibilities of sexuality.
Firebrand Feminism is available for purchase! To order on Amazon, check out this link.
Reviews of the book:
"At a time when feminism would prefer to forget about its radical past, Breanne Fahs does the hard work of dragging it back out from the shadows. Her writing remembers forgotten and neglected women, and their ideas for a wild transformation of society, and it is increasingly vital. Firebrand Feminism is no nostalgia tour, it is a white-hot reminder that we can and should and will change the world. "―Jessa Crispin, author of The Dead Ladies Project
"Makes the argument that contemporary feminism needs a reinfusion of the 'firebrand feminism' epitomized by these women and early radical feminism."―Jane Caputi, author of Goddesses and Monsters: Women, Myth, Power, and Popular Culture
"Just the book I've been looking for to supplement the manifestos, tracts, and other writings produced during the heyday of the Women's Liberation Movement."―Eileen Boris, professor of feminist studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
"Firebrand Feminism is a beacon for our troubled times. Fahs situates the history of radical feminism in the lived experiences of its foremothers, weaving lively personal accounts with sharp feminist analysis of the place of 'radical' inside past, present, and future feminisms. Wrestling with vexed issues, such as differences among women, Fahs presents a nuanced portrait of a movement whose most enduring legacies - roots and rage - offer a messy but hopeful toolkit."--Monica J. Casper, professor of gender and women's studies, University of Arizona
Now published: Transforming Contagion: Risky Contacts Among Bodies, Disciplines, and Nations. Buy your copy on Amazon here.
Praise for Transforming Contagion:
“This is an extraordinary book that radically rethinks and expands our understanding of contagion. Crossing historical, geographical and disciplinary boundaries, Transforming Contagion brings a feminist, queer and new materialist perspective that insists on the possibilities as well as the risks and anxieties of contagion.”--Rosalind Gill, author of New Femininities
"Traversing the humanities and social sciences, the essays in Transforming Contagion offer a fertile prism for exploring how contagion--the spread of beliefs, emotions, texts, practices, people, and pathogens across communities and culture--has been represented, experienced, addressed, and theorized across disciplines and historical periods. This volume establishes contagion as a central keyword for studying not only biomedical but also cultural, psychological, and political forms of connection, communication, and collective action.”--David Zimmerman, author of Panic!
Hot off the press:
Doing critical sexuality studies work (with Sara McClelland and Rebecca Plante)
Menstrual pain and queer/crip theory (with Ela Przybylo)
Sexuality gap in protest behavior (with Eric Swank)
Out for Blood won the 2017 Association for Women in Psychology Distinguished Publication Award. It was also recently nominated for the Foreword Indie Book prize. My book, Out for Blood: Essays on Menstruation and Resistance, is available for order on Amazon here.
To read an argument for the new/emerging field of critical sexuality studies, see my Annual Review of Sex Research article with Sara McClelland here.
Three new articles:
Women's emotional labor in their sexual relationships
What is "good sex"?
What kind of bodies do women dread?
Valerie Solanas won the Independent Publisher Book Award, Silver Medal (Women's Issues),
and it was selected as a staff pick at The Paris Review.
Interview in BOMB Magazine about the Valerie Solanas book with Liz Kinnamon. Read my interview about Valerie Solanas in the New York Times here!