Queer Embodiment


Queer Embodiment

Monstrosity, Medical Violence, and Intersex Experience

Hil Malatino

Expanding Frontiers: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Series

264 pages
5 photographs, index


April 2019


$45.00 Add to Cart

November 2021


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eBook (EPUB)
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April 2019


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eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

April 2019


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About the Book

Merging critical theory, autobiography, and sexological archival research, Queer Embodiment provides insight into what it means to have a legible body in the West. Hil Malatino explores how intersexuality became an anomalous embodiment assumed to require correction and how contesting this pathologization can promote medical reform and human rights for intersex and trans people.

Malatino traces both institutional and interpersonal failures to dignify non–sexually dimorphic bodies and examines how the ontology of gender difference developed by modern sexologists conflicts with embodied experience. Malatino comprehensively shows how gender-normalizing practices begin at the clinic but are amplified thereafter through mechanisms of institutional exclusion and through Eurocentric culture’s cis-centric and bio-normative notions of sexuality, reproductive capacity, romantic partnership, and kinship.

Combining personal accounts with archival evidence, Queer Embodiment presents intersexuality as the conceptual center of queerness, the figure through which nonnormative genders and desires are and have been historically understood. We must reconsider the medical, scientific, and philosophical discourse on intersexuality underlying contemporary understandings of sexed selfhood in order to understand gender anew as a process of becoming that exceeds restrictive binary logic.

Author Bio

Hil Malatino is an assistant professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Pennsylvania State University and core faculty in the Rock Ethics Institute.



Queer Embodiment joins a small shelf of important work in critical intersex studies. In beautifully written, lucidly argued, theoretically sharp, and emotionally evocative prose, Malatino articulates queer and trans theory with continental philosophy and a racially conscious decolonial perspective to produce a teratologically sublime work of scholarship on bodies that challenge our culture’s belief in biologically based binary genders.”—Susan Stryker, founding coeditor of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly

"Malatino's Queer Embodiment provides much fodder for thinking about sex and gender through the often overlooked positionality of intersex experience. In terms of its contributions to feminist and queer theory, Queer Embodiment offers fresh engagements with the philosophies of Grosz, Butler, Haraway, and Barad, while building on work in queer, trans, and intersex studies by Fausto-Sterling and Stryker among others. The text would make a notable contribution to courses (undergraduate and graduate) engaging queer and trans theory, feminist theory, bioethics, and/or the intertwined histories of sex, gender, and sexuality."—Eden Kinkaid, Feminist Formations

“Shrewd, eloquent, and compelling, Queer Embodiment is a thing of beauty, a monstrous assemblage of genres and methods that at once reorients contemporary scholarship on queer corporealities and mobilizes the possibility of new forms of coalitional praxis.”—Nikki Sullivan, honorary associate professor, Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University, in Sydney, New South Wales

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Prologue: Neither/Nor (Notes on Theory and Livability)
1. Queer Monsters: Michel Foucault and Herculine Barbin
Interlude: capacity
2. Impossible Existences: Intersex and “Disorders of Sex Development”
Interlude: repair
3. Gone, Missing: Queering and Racializing Absence in Trans and Intersex Archives
Interlude: on sight
4. Black Bar, Queer Gaze: Medical Photography and the Re-visioning of Queer Corporealities
Interlude: on record
5. State Science: Biopolitics and the Medicalization of Gender Nonconformance
Interlude: mirrors
6. Toward Coalition: Becoming, Monstrosity, and Sexed Embodiment

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