Reviews of Peer-Reviewed Journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences

We give you the scuttlebutt on academic journals—aiding you in selecting the right journal for publication—in reviews that are sometimes snarky, sometimes lengthy, always helpful. Written by Princeton University graduate students and Wendy Laura Belcher.

GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies

For those interested in publishing articles that have a fun, funky, and compelling perspective to add to Queer Theory, especially if you’re interested in the body and bodily practices (human—but not always). It helps if you’re thinking with or through a cultural or popular text. (FR)

For abstract ruminations, historicist discussions, or calls to action on a specific aspect of queer theory. (KS)


GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies is the flagship journal of Queer, Gay and Lesbian, and Sexuality Studies. It was also the leading journal in discussing Trans* Studies, until Duke University Press, which publishes GLQ, premiered T*SQ (Transgender Studies Quarterly) in 2014. Founded by David Halperin and Carolyn Dinshaw, the current editors are Elizabeth Freeman and Marcia Ochoa. Freeman, along with GLQ, is run out of UC Davis.

GLQ is a specific and theoretical response to the idea that sexuality should be “despecified,” as Halperin and Dinshaw put it in their manifesto/introduction to the very first issue in 1993. As a result, GLQ has often been at the cutting edge of research in LGBTQ+ Studies and Queer Theory and often produces provocative articles; furthermore, apropos of gay history, an appreciable amount of the work, whether it is theoretical in nature or queering a text, engages in archives of the disreputable. The two most recent issues, edited by Marcia Ochoa and guest edited by Sharon P. Holland and Kyla Wazana Tompkins, are emblematic of this tendency. The two issues are entitled “On the Visceral.” In her introduction to 21.1 (January 2015), this is Tompkin’s first paragraph:

 The first set of essays spanned historical and visual studies and seemed to delight in detailing perverse acts—vaginas ejecting golf balls, necrophilia, masturbation with religious icons, sex with animals. Taking up the term queer to encompass a wide range of nonnormative pleasures, acts, and embodiments, the essays … got at the gut by peering closely at, and into, its extremities. We aimed for the gut, we exclaimed somewhat gleefully in the last introduction, and we got ass. (1)

“Gleefully,” I think, is what often characterizes the work in GLQ, and has since its inception. That’s not to say the debates within its pages are always fun, though—but they are definitely vibrant, and sometimes raucous. Some of the most impactful and powerful debates within LGBTQ+ Studies and Queer Theory—both within the activity and within activism at large—have played out within its pages, and given GLQ’s attention to a wide span of identity formations and perspectives, I think many more great dialogues can be expected. One of the great things about GLQ is its reach—it is fundamentally academic in its focus and reach, but many of its articles are read and used by activists and non-professional students.

GLQ’s website is very helpful and easily navigable, and has abstract links that one can hover over with their cursor. It has full pdf links for every issue going back to 1993, and has abstracts for articles and reviews from 14.2-3 (2008) to the most recent issue. Each issue seems to have a section for articles, as well as sections entitled “Moving Image Reviews,” “Books in Brief,” and “Book Review.” Considered as a whole, these three sections do not always appear, but at the very least one or two of them appear in each issue. What distinguishes “Books in Brief” from “Book Review” in GLQ is the typical length of the contributions: “Books in Brief” contributions tend to be 2-3 pages long, whereas book reviews can (but don’t always) run up to 20 pages or more. The same holds true for the “Moving Image Reviews,” which do a nice job of incorporating visual culture and art in the magazine. In terms of how many articles appear in each issue, it depends on whether the issue is a double issue, whether it is a special issue, or whether it is a regular issue. As such, the number of articles ranges from 3-8, from what I saw.

I read some of the articles from the two most recent issues, and also glanced through abstracts from the last several years. Each article, while suggesting interventions in regard to the literary or cultural texts they examine—cultural texts also indicates bodies, people, and practices [sexual or otherwise], which is an important point that GLQ makes—is primarily focused with expanding or articulating Queer Theory. As such, the arguments made are often “extroverted,” in that they seek to speak broadly. Because of this argumentative orientation towards theory, the claims made by each article I read tend to be networked and complicated, in that each argument requires interlocked and increasingly expansive parts. As a result of this, each essay also had sections, something that was not as ubiquitous in either PMLA or AAR.

While anchoring itself within the local, an article in GLQ often makes bigger claims about Queer Theory or theory in general. This is a manifestation, I feel, of what is often a criticism of Queer Theory—it’s really broad and hard to categorize. Yet, from the very beginning of Queer Theory, this is what its advocates promised.

Here is a brief accounting of where the articles below placed their arguments: Rowe’s was the 3rd paragraph, Ngai’s argument comes in the 4th page of her essay, Bradway’s appears twice (2nd paragraph, as well as paragraphs 3-6), Nash’s appears twice (2nd paragraph, paragraphs 6-7, Lee’s was the 5th & 6th paragraphs, and Tortorici’s was the 1st & 2nd paragraphs (which comprised the entirety of the first section). The arguments tend to be long, and terms or moves are sometimes stated or coined in the articles (Rowe argues for a term called “abundant present,” for example, or the deployment of “the visceral”/”viscerality” in 20.4 & 21.1). Many of the articles also use something unique or specific to a text and expand it outwards, as a suggestion of the text’s immanent theory (Cho’s vaginal comedy, Sedgwick’s use of haibun).

I found the conclusions to the articles I read to be capacious. They have just taken us through heady theory and dense textuality, and they conclude almost gently, by suggesting what we can take away, what we’ve been taught (except for some of the articles on the visceral, it almost goes without saying). I don’t think this is indicative of GLQ throughout its history, though—many of the journal’s most cited articles (which the website helpfully ranks, as of February 1st, 2015) are calls to action, arguments for reconceptualization or inclusion, or fierce uses of Queer Theory to illuminate social injustice and possible paths towards justice.

by Francisco Robles

Word count: up to 12,000

Articles per year:  15-25

Cite Style: Chicago

Disciplines: Literature, History, Sociology, Psychology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Women’s Studies, LGBTQ* Studies


  • Bradway, Tyler. “‘Permeable We!’: Affect and the Ethics of Intersubjectivity in Eve Sedgwick’s A Dialogue on Love.” GLQ1 (Spring 2013): 79-110.
  • Dinshaw, Carolyn and David Halperin. “From the Editors.” GLQ1 (1993): iii-iv.
  • Holland, Sharon P., Marcia Ochoa, and Kyla Wazana Tompkins. “On the Visceral.” GLQ4 (Winter 2014): 391-406.
  • Lee, Rachel. “Pussy Ballistics and the Queer Appeal of Peristalsis, or Belly Dancing With Margaret Cho.” GLQ4 (Winter 2014): 491-520.
  • Nash, Jennifer C. “Black Anality.” GLQ4 (Winter 2014): 439-460.
  • Ngai, Sianne. “Visceral Abstractions.” GLQ1 (Spring 2015): 33-63.
  • Rowe, Aimee Carrillo. “‘…Your Ancestors Come’: Tracing an Abundant Present in Adelina Anthony’s La Hocicona Series.” GLQ2 (Summer 2013): 215-247.
  • Tortorici, Zeb. “Visceral Archives of the Body.” GLQ4 (Winter 2014): 407-437.

About Wendy Belcher

Associate Professor, Princeton University, Department of Comparative Literature and the Center for African American Studies. Author of Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success. Instructor of Deep Reading Journals as Publishing Praxis.


This entry was posted on June 15, 2015 in Interdiscplinary Journals, Queer Studies Journals.