The reviews in this section explore recent texts by authors deeply concerned with the experience of seeing and being seen through the distorting lenses of gendered realities. From witnessing to surveillance to the affective and aesthetic potentials of exposure and visibility, the authors represented here emphasize the power of nurturing the questions and tensions that arise from our own experiences of gender-based marginalization and violence. Embracing the broad methodological, generic, and collaborative possibilities visibilized by these texts, the reviewers in this section each demonstrate immense empathy in mapping the ecologies of relation to which our theories of feminism, gender, and sexuality are indebted. Each reviewer writes honestly and vulnerably, and taps into the affective experiences of engaging these texts as much as they employ rigorous summative and analytical tools.

This section begins with Nathalia P. Hernández Ochoa’s review of Rosa-Linda Fregoso’s The Force of Witness: Contra Feminicide, which narrates familial and activist responses to gender-based violence at the U.S.-Mexico border. Hernández Ochoa writes powerfully of Fregoso’s operationalization of the force of witnessing in activist movements, highlighting the impact of intimate, (auto)ethnographic research methods in contextualizing contra-feminicide resistance by the mothers and families of victims. Nathalia’s review of The Force of Witness is especially generative viewed alongside Supervision: On Motherhood and Surveillance, a collection of works edited by Sophie Hamacher with Jessica Hankey. Reviewed here by Courtney Welu, Supervision is a collaborative project exploring the parallels between the experience of motherhood and that of a surveillance state. Drawing on diverse and multimodal research methodologies, Welu writes that Supervision advocates for “a maternal countersurveillance that . . . transform[s] the very technologies used to control and police mothers into tools of love, curiosity, and empowerment.”

Shifting the questions of seeing and being seen to the field of queer media studies, next in this section is Ana Equihua Ramirez’s review of Mainstreaming Gays: Critical Convergences of Queer Media, Fan Cultures, and Commercial Television. Authored by Eve Ng, Mainstreaming Gays charts the visibility of LGBTQ+ content in popular media and culture throughout the first decade of the 21st century. Mainstreaming Gays optimizes the potential of rich ethnographic methods to highlight the tensions of moving LGBTQ+ content from niche to mainstream, as “people of color, trans people, and women became marginalized within LGBTQ platforms . . . when networks shifted their focus to draw in straight viewers through LGBTQ content.” Gay Poems for Red States, authored by Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr. and reviewed by Spencer Williams, localizes Ramirez’s high-level engagement with LGBTQ+ media, bringing readers back to the intimate experience of witnessing queer art. Williams writes that Gay Poems “dutifully sifts through the muck—the pain, the grief, the elation, and confusion—of queer rebellion, with poems that read like odes to that complicated place called home we find ourselves escaping and returning to.” Concluding this section is Weston Leo Richey’s review of Lauren Berlant’s final, posthumous release, On the Inconvenience of Other People. A text made especially relevant by an increasingly interconnected world, inconvenience is, for Berlant, “the affective sense of the familiar friction of being in relation,” a sense Weston explores through their personal frictions with navigating everyday-ness. Like Berlant’s text, Richey’s review “mingles play and considered thoughtfulness,” and beautifully rounds out this section’s iterations on relationality, exposure, and the raw vulnerability of narrating gendered and queer(ed) experiences.

Speaking to readers across space, time, and fields, the texts reviewed in this section address myriad interests in critical feminist studies and demonstrate the abundant applicability of gender- and sexuality-based analysis across disciplines. Spanning conversations and inquiries in gender and women’s studies, performance studies, cultural studies, activism and artivism, media and pop culture, rhetorics of technology, literary studies, and socially-engaged research methods, there is space for many to feel here. I hope you enjoy reading these reviews as much as I did.