In the course of writing this book, I have incurred more debts than I
can possibly acknowledge here. I would like to express my apprecia-
tion to Lynne Curtis and Erika King for providing emotional and
intellectual support during a particularly difficult period in my aca-
demic career. I am also indebted to Elizabeth HeIsinger for encourag-
ing me to pursue my interests in gender studies at a crucial stage in my
intellectual development. Although this book bears little resemblance
to the dissertation I wrote under her supervision at the University of
Chicago, it was in Beth's workshop on feminist criticism and theory
that I first began to think about the political construction of gender and
sexual identity.
Many friends and colleagues have commented on parts or all of
the manuscript. I would like to thank in particular Lauren Berlant,
Teresa de Lauretis, Jane Gallop, and Loren Kruger; they will recognize
how much I have benefited from their comments and criticisms. I
would also like to thank Jonathan Arac who generously agreed to read
the entire manuscript. Jonathan's combination of scholarly rigor and
critical finesse has greatly influenced my reconstruction of Cold War
liberal discourse, although obviously he is not responsible for the
book's shortcomings. lowe a special debt to Donald Pease whose
incisive comments on an earlier version of the manuscript led me to
rethink my argument in crucial ways. The subtlety and complexity of
Don's thinking about the Cold War and its impact on American culture
has been my model throughout. My greatest debt is to Kent Sargent
who encouraged me to pursue this project when it was still only an
article. Without his support and encouragement I could not have
written this book. Finally, I would like to dedicate this book to my
mother's memory. In many respects, this project began as an attempt
to understand the political and sexual taboos of my childhood, which
included not being allowed to watch Strangers on a Train when it was
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