The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America
by Margot Canaday
Princeton. 296 pages, $29.95
MARGOT CANADAY’S The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America argues that the last century’s evolving perception of sexuality changed the concept of American citizenship. She pursues her thesis with a rigorous review of the archives to illuminate how federal policies were increasingly inflected with an awareness of non-normative sexualities. She argues that the preference for heterosexual citizens evolved alongside the rise of the modern American bureaucratic state. Her provocative discussion delineates how the state came to utilize immigration as surveillance, the draft as discipline, and welfare as domestication in the surveillance and regulation of sexual behavior.