Judith Halberstam (born 15 December, 1961) is Professor of English and Director of The Center for Feminist Research at University of Southern California. Before joining USC she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Literature at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). In the broader cultural sphere, she has made contributions as a gender and queer theorist and author; she is also a participant in the drag king community under the name "Jack" Halberstam. She joined Duke University's faculty in 2007.
Halberstam primarily focuses on the topic of female masculinity and has published a book titled after the concept. Some queer scholars have taken her work to be reinforcing heterosexuality and traditional gender roles as well as trying to define the concept of "femaleness". Others have defended her work as groundbreaking in queer theory, as it focuses on whether masculinity need be exclusive to the male domain. As a result, tensions and much debate surround Halberstam's work.
Halberstam earned her BA with a major in English, at the University of California at Berkeley in 1985. She received her MA from the University of Minnesota in 1989, and her PhD from the same school in 1991.
Her most recent publication, In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives, looks at queer subculture and proposes a conception of time and space independent of the influence of normative heterosexual/familial lifestyle. She received 2 Lambda Book Award nominations for her most widely-known non-fiction book, Female Masculinity.
Halberstam's recent work is on an analysis of failure, doing justice to the topic of the underdog. This assessment of failure privileges those marginal groups of identity that are traditionally lost in an account of history. Her multi-disciplinary (or anti-disciplinary) approach emphasizes the importance of freedom, criticizes the dominance of disciplinary patriarchy, and renews interest in excluded voices for academic contexts.
- Halberstam, Judith and Del Lagrace Volcano. The Drag King Book. London: Serpent's Tale, 1999. ISBN 1852426071
- Halberstam, Judith. Female Masculinity. Durham: Duke University Press, 1998. ISBN 0822322269 & 0822322439
- Halberstam, Judith. In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives. New York: New York University Press, 2005. ISBN 0814735843 & 0814735851
- Halberstam, Judith and Ira Livingston, Eds. Posthuman Bodies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995. ISBN 0253328942 & 0253209706
- Halberstam, Judith. Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995. ISBN 082231651X & 0822316633
- Halberstam, Judith, David Eng & José Esteban Muñoz, Eds. What's Queer about Queer Studies Now? Durham: Duke University Press, 2005. ISBN 0822366215
Articles and book chapters
- "F2M: The Making of Female Masculinity." in The Lesbian Postmodern. Edited by Laura Doan. New York : Columbia University Press, 1994 . pp. 210-228.
- "Technologies of Monstrosity: Bram Stoker's Dracula" in Cultural Politics at the Fin de Siècle. Edited by Sally Ledger and Scott McCracken. Cambridge [U.K.], New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995. pp. 248-266.
- "Queering Lesbian Studies." in The New Lesbian Studies: Into the Twenty-first Century. Edited by Bonnie Zimmerman and Toni A. H. McNaron. New York: Feminist Press at The City University of New York, 1996. 1st ed. pp. 256-261.
- "The Art of Gender" in Rrose is a rrose is a rrose: Gender Performance in Photography. by Jennifer Blessing with contributions by Judith Halberstam. New York: Guggenheim Museum, 1997. pp. 176-189.
- "Sex Debates." in Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Critical Introduction. Edited by Andy Medhurst and Sally R. Munt. London, Washington: Cassell, 1997. pp. 327-340.
- "Techno-Homo: On Bathrooms, Butches, and Sex with Furniture." in Processed Lives: Gender and Technology in Everyday Life Edited by Jennifer Terry and Melodie Calvert. London, New York: Routledge, 1997. pp. 183-194.
- "Between Butches" in Butch/Femme: Inside Lesbian Gender. Edited by Sally R. Munt & Cherry Smyth. London : Cassell, 1998. pp. 57-66.
- "Telling Tales: Brandon Teena, Billy Tipton, and Transgender Biography." in Passing: Identity and Interpretation in Sexuality, Race, and Religion. Edited by María Carla Sánchez and Linda Schlossberg. New York: New York University Press, 2001. pp. 13-37.
- "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Men, Women, and Masculinity." in Masculinity Studies & Feminist Theory: New Directions. Edited by Judith Kegan Gardiner. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002. pp. 344-368.
- "An Introduction to Female Masculinity." in The Masculinity Studies Reader. Edited by Rachel Adams and David Savran. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2002. pp. 355-374.
- "An Introduction to Gothic Monstrosity." in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Contexts, Performance Adaptations, Criticism / Robert Louis Stevenson. Edited by Katherine Linehan. New York: Norton, 2003. 1st ed. pp. 128-131.
- "The Transgender Look." in The Bent Lens: A World Guide to Gay and Lesbian Film. Edited by Lisa Daniel & Claire Jackson. Los Angeles, CA: Alyson Books, 2003. 2nd ed. (1st U.S. ed.) pp. 18-21.
- "Oh Bondage Up Yours! Female Masculinity and the Tomboy." in Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children. Edited by Steven Bruhm and Natasha Hurley. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004. pp. 191-214.
- "Transgender Butch: Butch/FTM Border Wars and the Masculine Continuum." in Feminist Theory: A Reader. Edited by Wendy K. Kolmar, Frances Bartkowski. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2005. 2nd ed. pp. 550-560.
- "Automating Gender: Postmodern Feminism in the Age of the Intelligent Machine." in Theorizing Feminism: Parallel Trends in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Edited by Anne C. Herrmann and Abigail J. Stewart. Chapter 21.
- "Sweet Tea and the Queer Art of Digression." in Two Truths and a Lie by Scott Turner Schofield. Ypsilanti, MI: Homofactus Press, 2008. pp. 9-12.
- Danbolt, Mathias."The Eccentric Archive - An Interview with Judith Halberstam" in Trikster – Nordic Queer Journal #1, 2008.