The Family Flamboyant: Race Politics, Queer Families, Jewish Lives by Marla Brettschneider


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The Family Flamboyant is a graceful and lucid account of the many routes to family formation. Weaving together personal experience and political analysis in an examination of how race, gender, sexuality, class, and other hierarchies function in family politics, Marla Brettschneider draws on her own experience in a Jewish, multiracial, adoptive, queer family in order to theorize about the layered realities that characterize families in the United States today. Brettschneider uses critical race politics, feminist insight, class-based analysis, and queer theory to offer a distinct and distinctly Jewish contribution to both the family debates and the larger project of justice politics.

“…Marla Brettschneider’s smart, heartfelt, and radical meditation on the very real complexities of family identity goes far beyond the sentimental nonsense that often accompanies contemporary gay discourse on family, love, and marriage … Enlightening and endlessly provocative, The Family Flamboyant is a tremendous addition to the literature on queer and Jewish studies.” — Lambda Book Report

“…creatively and unabashedly interweaves the personal with the political and philosophical … I do not (yet) agree with all of Brettschneider’s conclusions, but at the very least she certainly moves us toward some creative re-thinking of what, and who, is family.” — Central Conference of American Rabbis Newsletter

“The Family Flamboyant is a spirited testimony to the richness and multiplicity of family life, and a model of how reflections on one’s own experience and scholarship can illuminate one another to mutual advantage. This book is a welcome addition to the bookshelf for anyone interested in the complex ways in which people enter into and sustain family relationships.” — Mary Lyndon Shanley, author of Making Babies, Making Families: What Matters Most in an Age of Reproductive Technologies, Surrogacy, Adoption, and Same-Sex and Unwed Parents

“The strength of this book is the passionate voice of Brettschneider and her ability to harness it for a fresh discussion of the place of Jewishness in American multicultural thought. The writing is truly impressive.” — Matti Bunzl, author of Symptoms of Modernity: Jews and Queers in Late-Twentieth-Century Vienna

“What is really impressive about this work is Brettschneider’s integration of personal anecdote with philosophical insight. She reads the meaning of her own life within the debates of identity politics, and this method serves her very well. The reader is captivated by her personal narrative and duly impressed with the insight she garners.” — Lori J. Marso, author of (Un)Manly Citizens: Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s and Germaine de Staël’s Subversive Women

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