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Sex MuseumsThe Politics and Performance of Display$
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Jennifer Tyburczy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226315102

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226315386.001.0001

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All Museums Are Sex Museums

All Museums Are Sex Museums

(p.1) Introduction All Museums Are Sex Museums
Sex Museums

Jennifer Tyburczy

University of Chicago Press

The introduction shows how all museums are already sex museums and makes periodization claims on how and why the book pinpoints key museum events to trace and structure a genealogy of debates about sex in museums. It defines key terms such “performance,” “museum,” “sex,” and “display” with display conceived of as a technique for disciplining sexuality both within and outside museums. The introduction also shows how the history of the normalizing force of the museum has always been paralleled by another history—a queer history—one in which the display of unruly objects of non-normative sex (and risk-taking curators) rebel against museum norms. Thus, in addition to forging a genealogy of the normalizing influence of the museum on the history of sexuality, the introduction also foregrounds display as a materialization of queer theory and as a form of queer praxis. The author’s methodology is likewise described as “queer praxis,” an interdisciplinary methodology for curatorial labor in museums and a mode for understanding the work of queer scholars through grounded research methods such as ethnography, interviews, participant observation, and self-reflexive approaches to archival research.

Keywords:   normalizing, museum, history, sexuality, sex, performance, queer, praxis, display, methodology

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