Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Work

Well, I sent the (semi) final draft in last night to Wipf & Stock. There will be editing now, but no more rewrites. That's where I've been, in case all four of you were wondering.

This is the culmination of the work that started with Sex & War, but waited for me to be baptised.

So it's called Borderline--Reflections on War, Sex, and Church. It has 33 chapters, listed below.

The title came up during rewrites, when I realized the the incessant fortification of various boundaries describes this troubled relation in reality, symbol, and imagination.

The book begins with a somewhat disturbing anecdote from my own experience in the military - a kind of shock orientation - followed by a brief anthropological and historical deconstruction of masculinities.

Then there is an historical analysis of the relation between war, misogyny, and the church - which includes the Crusades and the witch trials of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This history is interspersed with several philosophical genealogies that bear on those histories, including the work of several feminist historians of ideas, i.e., Carole Pateman, Carolyn Merchant, Maria Mies, Patricia Hill Collins, Nancy C.M. Hartsock, and bell hooks... as well as a key intervention from feminist psychoanalysis via Jessica Benjamin.

These women are put into conversation with postliberal philosophers and theologians, like Ivan Illich, Alasdair MacIntyre, Amy Laura Hall, William Cavanaugh, and Stanley Hauerwas.

As the book progresses, it flies in shortening circles toward a more autobiographical account - that is, my own experience in the military - by focusing first on the development of the United States, the emergence of an American civil religion, the serial destabilizations and re-consolidations of American martial masculinities - with a necessary and strong emphasis on the intersections between sex and race - and finally returns to some of my concrete experiences from Vietnam to Somalia to Haiti.

The idea - and I hope I succeeded to some degree - was to show not only the way war reproduces masculinity and masculinity reproduces war, but how both establish the conceptual coordinates for the hatred and oppression of women... and vice versa. This recursive dynamic can be seen historically, sociologically, culturally, linguistically, philosophically, psychologically, and theologically; and there are quite a few examples of each.

The other idea was to show to what a staggering degree - whether we know it or not - we are each of us products of a thickly complex history.
I hope it is useful. It ought to be out early in 2015.


1 Partially Autobiographical Account of a Christian Soldier and Serial Rapist
2 Forest Troop
3 Body Counts
4 Ontology of the Witch Hunt
5 Ecologies of Power
6 The Rise of the Lawyers
7 Misbegotten Man
8 Eros and War
9 Practice Makes Perfect
10 The Masculine Fortress
11 Torture and Redemption
12 The Pope’s Army
13 Sleepwalking
14 Genealogy
15 Bodies and Objects
16 Contagious Prefix
17 Just, Civil, and Total War—Sanctification of the State
18 Bodyguard of Lies—A Girl Story and a Boy Story
19 Origin Myths
20 Paradox of Domination
21 Disgust, Transgression, and Sex
22 Respectability
23 Progress and Fear of the Feminine
24 Shell Shock
25 Nation, Race, and Hygiene
26 The Art of Depression
27 Homos and Harlots
28 Second World War
29 Bombs, Babies, and ‘Burbs
30 The Herd
31 Taboo
32 Consent
33 Clarifications


  1. Looking forward to it Stan. I got a lot out of the original Sex and War, helped me with some tough times while in a relationship with a veteran who was the victim of sexual assault while in the military. It also has helped me with the process of unpacking my own masculine baggage. Thanks so much for the work you've put into the new version.

    All good medicine,


  2. Thank you, your work is some of the only stuff out there that makes any sense. Please continue.

  3. Good to see you back, and it looks like a good read. I see it has some correlation with the blog topics, both Feral & Chasin'...

  4. I'm looking forward to reading this book, Stan.

    Good to see that Feral Scholar is accessible via the Wayback Machine:

    DCReade aka cabdriver