Our Monica, Ourselves

The Clinton Affair and the National Interest

349 pages

5 illustrations

March, 2001

ISBN: 9780814798645



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Lauren Berlant is Professor of English and Director of the Center for Gender Studies at the University of Chicago. She is author of The Anatomy of National Fantasy and The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship, and co-editor of the journal Critical Inquiry.

All books by Lauren Berlant

Lisa Duggan is Associate Professor of American Studies and History at New York University. She is co-author of Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture and author of Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence and American Modernity.

All books by Lisa A. Duggan

Alongside the O.J. Simpson trial, the affair between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky now stands as the seminal cultural event of the 90s. Alternatively transfixed and repelled by this sexual scandal, confusion still reigns over its meanings and implications. How are we to make sense of a tale that is often wild and bizarre, yet replete with serious political and cultural implications?

Our Monica, Ourselves provides a forum for thinking through the cultural, political, and public policy issues raised by the investigation, publicity, and Congressional impeachment proceedings surrounding the affair. It pulls this spectacle out of the framework provided by the conventions of the corporate news media, with its particular notions of what constitutes a newsworthy event. Drawing from a broad range of scholars, Our Monica, Ourselves considers Monica Lewinsky's Jewishness, Linda Tripp's face, the President's penis, the role of shame in public discourse, and what it's like to have sex as the president, as well as specific legal and historical issues at stake in the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

Thoughtful but accessible, immediate yet far reaching, Our Monica, Ourselves will change the way we think about the Clinton affair, while helping us reimagine culture and politics writ large.

Contributors include: Lauren Berlant, Eric O. Clarke, Ann Cvetkovich, Simone Weil Davis, Lisa Duggan, Jane Gallop, Marjorie Garber, Janet R. Jakobsen, James R. Kincaid, Laura Kipnis, Tomasz Kitlinski, Pawel Leszkowicz, Joe Lockard, Catharine Lumby, Toby Miller, Dana D. Nelson, Anna Marie Smith, Ellen Willis, and Eli Zaretsky.


  • "The book contains more than its share of smart writing."


  • "This set of 18 essays offers a variety of interesting commentaries a 'progressive forum' on the Clinton sex scandal. . . . The collection includes (in part) ruminations on body imagery, the idea of 'the Jewess,' the association of sexual recklessness with notions of race and class, the peculiarities of Clinton's politics (as well as his personal behavior) that made him vulnerable to such an attack, and the implications for Clinton's (reluctant) feminist supporters."

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