Queer geography, with its concentration on issues of place and space (both physical and imaginary) adds a significant and necessary dimension to queer theory by grounding it in questions of how we navigate everyday life. Mapping Desire extends the notion of queer beyond the practices of bodies in the bedroom and examine the ways that sexuality is inscribed on the body and in the landscape.
The essays are organized into four sections and investigate a diversity of queer negotiation and resistance in geographies both rural and urban, including: Europe, America, Canada, Australasia, Africa and the Pacific. Lynda Johnston and Gill Valentine explore the concept of the parental home, the ways that heterosexuality limits lesbian identity and practice, and how lesbian households have attempted alternatives. Tamar Rothenberg looks at questions of where one might choose to live, and reports on a lesbian community in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Linda McDowell analyzes financial traders in London and the (explicit, implicit, and self-policed) demand for a particular heterosexual male performance in order to succeed. Sally Munt addresses the ambiguity (sexual, identity, gaze and otherwise) of the lesbian (butch) flaneur challenging both Modernist male and feminist analyses that strictly define the flaneur as masculine. Clare Hemmings lucidly examines the ambiguous relationship of bisexuality to feminism and queer theory, while looking for a space within both.
Among the refreshing aspects of Mapping Desire are the quantity of essays by women and lesbians, the inclusion of Canadian situations and the plain language which makes these texts accessible to readers unfamiliar with geography theory. These provocative essays are a significant contribution, for the question of finding “home and a place to be” is deeply resonant across the landscape of everyday (queer) life. C. M.