Undoing Monogamy

The Politics of Science and the Possibilities of Biology

Undoing Monogamy

Book Pages: 216 Illustrations: 9 illustrations Published: May 2016

Author: Angela Willey

Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Queer Theory, Science and Technology Studies > Feminist Science Studies

In Undoing Monogamy Angela Willey offers a radically interdisciplinary exploration of the concept of monogamy in U.S. science and culture, propelled by queer feminist desires for new modes of conceptualization and new forms of belonging. She approaches the politics and materiality of monogamy as intertwined with one another such that disciplinary ways of knowing themselves become an object of critical inquiry. Refusing to answer the naturalization of monogamy with a naturalization of nonmonogamy, Willey demands a critical reorientation toward the monogamy question in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The book examines colonial sexual science, monogamous voles, polyamory, and the work of Alison Bechdel and Audre Lorde to show how challenging the lens through which human nature is seen as monogamous or nonmonogamous forces us to reconsider our investments in coupling and in disciplinary notions of biological bodies. 


"Undoing Monogamy is an important contribution to feminist and queer studies of science, to feminist materialisms, and to academic studies of non/monogamy.... Undoing Monogamy provides us with an example of how to approach science differently in ways that are grounded more in the lives and needs of a wider variety of diverse humans and nonhumans." — Kim TallBear, Hypatia

"The value of Undoing Monogamy to scholars of non/monogamy is unquestionable. The careful, historical attention to the way that non/monogamy has been implicated in colonial logics and ongoing projects of racism is a vital contribution to the field." — Jessica Kean, Australian Feminist Studies

"Undoing Monogamy is a fascinating book that offers a very innovative methodological intervention. Willey’s interdisciplinary approach makes it all the more engaging." — Arunima Kundu, Global Histories

"Willey’s unflinching commitment to interrogating the racial and colonial violence of sexuality studies structures . . . her analysis." — Regina Yung Lee & Logan Natalie O'Laughlin, Signs

"[Undoing Monogamy] has something to teach everyone: every reader will find something new and unfamiliar in its pages." — Clare Chambers, International Feminist Journal of Politics

"The thoroughly interdisciplinary methodology, alongside ethical and joyful visions of a ‘dyke science,’ give us all a new way forward, where we do not make easy scapegoats of disciplines, but interrogate and integrate our various disciplines through our deeply naturecultural worlds." — Banu Subramaniam, Science, Technology and Society

"A richly interdisciplinary book . . . that demonstrates a facility and ease with multiple approaches in feminist science studies. . . . Willey’s really substantive contribution to queer theory and sexuality studies, which is that the idea of monogamy and nonmonogamy as sexual practices—as sex itself—has been obscuring something of value: the expansive social worlds that might emerge if both monogamy and its others were critiqued." — Kyla Tompkins, American Quarterly

"Undoing Monogamy makes a key theoretical intervention: clarifying ow new materialist approaches can build on, rather than depart from (or at worst, ignore), the insights of feminist science studies. Angela Willey makes a necessary and pointed contribution. . . . This is a scholar to watch for self-reflexive, multidisciplinary, and intersectional feminist research that challenges us all to conceive of critique and world-building as compatible projects." — Kyla Schuller, Catalyst

"Reaching far into feminist science studies, new materialism, and feminist of color critique, Angela Willey refuses to privilege either biology or the social. Her deepest ethic is to recognize the animacy of both humans and nonhumans, of both culture and materiality, and the ways in which they make one another. An outstanding book, Undoing Monogamy opens up important questions for defining feminist science and its promise for democratizing science and society." — Kim TallBear, author of Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science

"Angela Willey's Undoing Monogamy explores the rich terrain of speculation over the meaning and significance of monogamy for scientists, for advocates of polyamory, and for feminists. Covering a substantial range of topics, Undoing Monogamy is a highly generative book for anyone interested in feminist science studies, cultural studies of sexuality, and especially new materialism." — Jennifer Terry, author of An American Obsession: Science, Medicine, and Homosexuality in Modern Society


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Price: $24.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Angela Willey is Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  xi

Introduction. Politics and Possibility: A Queer Feminist Introduction to Monogamy  1

1. Monogamy's Nature: Colonial Sexual Science and Its Naturecultural Fruits  25

2. Making the Monogamous Human: Mating, Measurement, and the New Science of Bonding  45

3. Making Our Poly Nature: Monogamy's Inversion and the Reproduction of Difference  73

4. Rethinking Monogamy's Nature: From the Truth of Non/Monogamy to a Dyke Ethics of "Antimonogamy"  95

5. Biopossibility: Molecular Monogamy and Audre Lorde's Erotic  121

Epilogue. Dreams of a Dyke Science  141

Notes  147

Bibliography  169

Index  191
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6159-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6140-4
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