Congratulations to Wagner College psychology professor Amy Eshleman and Jean Halley, a former sociology professor at Wagner College, whose new book, “Seeing Straight: An Introduction to Gender and Sexual Privilege,” was published Nov. 29 by Rowman & Littlefield.
“Seeing Straight” introduces students to key concepts in gender and sexuality through the lens of privilege and power. After an accessible overview, the book asks students to examine the privilege inherent in approaching heterosexual and cisgender identities as “normal,” as well as the problems of treating queer gender and sexuality as “abnormal.” Compelling, real-life examples illustrate theory and empirical research, revealing phenomena that shape not only students’ own lives but also their communities, their country and the field of gender studies itself. The book addresses tough topics like hate, violence and privilege, and it also considers institutionalized heteronormativity through the military, law, religion and more. The book ends with a chapter called “It’s Getting Better,” which presents evidence for queer hope and courage. Filled with compelling true stories, this book is an ideal introduction to gender and sexuality that encourages students to question their own assumptions.
“ ‘Seeing Straight’ is a rewarding — and challenging — book designed to take the young adult from passive acceptance of gender norms and sex roles through the long and exciting history of awakening of identity, sexuality, dissent, freedom, and into adult respect for the variety of humanity,” writes Chris Crandall, a psychology professor at the University of Kansas. “The volume covers stereotyping and prejudice, sex and gender, queer theory, gender privilege and heteronormativity, what is normal, what is deviant, what is queer and what is courage. The authors emphasize opportunity, empowerment, sex positivity, and the costs of gender and sexual oppression. This book will improve the lives of the students who read it.”
“At a moment when sexual politics are playing out in radically new and often contradictory ways, Jean Halley and Amy Eshleman offer us a wonderfully accessible work that centers our attention on the persistent and pervasive entanglements of gender, sexuality and power,” writes Rafael de la Dehesa, a professor of sociology and anthropology at the College of Staten Island. “Drawing on real-life examples and using an interdisciplinary lens, they have produced a very engaging text that could be used in many undergraduate courses.”
“A beautifully written handbook on understanding how systems of power and privilege warp, cloud, and distort human sexual and gender experience. I think the concluding section will save many lives, as the authors offer realistic hopes based on existing social progress,” writes Peggy McIntosh, senior research scientist and former associate director at the Wellesley Centers for Women and author of “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.”
JEAN HALLEY is associate professor of sociology at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York. She was formerly a member of the sociology faculty at Wagner College, where she served as faculty adviser for the Gay-Straight Alliance. She has taught extensively in women’s, gender and sexuality studies. She is the author of several books, including Boundaries of Touch: Parenting and Adult-Child Intimacy and The Parallel Lives of Women and Cows: Meat Markets.
AMY ESHLEMAN is professor of psychology at Wagner College, where she regularly teaches courses on gender, sexuality, race, social class, and prejudice.
Halley and Eshleman are also co-authors (with Ramya Mahadevan Vijaya) of “Seeing White: An Introduction to White Privilege and Race,” published in 2011 by Rowman & Littlefield. For more about “Seeing White,” visit our online Newsroom.