Lee Edelman is a professor in the English Department at Tufts University. Edelman began his academic career as a scholar of twentieth-century American poetry. He has since become a central figure in the development, dissemination, and rethinking of queer theory. His current work explores the intersections of sexuality, rhetorical theory, cultural politics, and film. He holds an appointment as the Fletcher Professor of English Literature and has served as the Chair of the English Department. He gained international recognition for his books about queer theory, post-structuralism, psychoanalytic theory, and cultural studies. He has a Ph.D. from Yale University, a M. Phil. from Yale, an M.A. from Yale, and a B.A. from Northwestern University.
Leo Bersani wrote of his most recent book, No Future: "In consistently brilliant theoretical discussions (for the most part, psychoanalytically inspired), as well as in strikingly original readings of Dickens, George Eliot, and Hitchcock, Lee Edelman argues that in a political culture dominated by the sentimental illusions and frequently murderous moral imperatives of 'reproductive futurism,' homosexuality has been assigned—and should deliberately and defiantly take on—the burden of a negativity at once embedded within and violently disavowed by that culture. The paradoxical dignity of queerness would be its refusal to believe in a redemptive future, its embrace of the unintelligibility, even the inhumanity inherent in sexuality. Edelman's extraordinary text is so powerful that we could perhaps reproach him only for not spelling out the mode in which we might survive our necessary assent to his argument."
While Edelman's work is widely read, he has faced criticism from many fellow critics regarding the limited perspective of his theory.
Edelman is married to critic, novelist, and fellow English professor Joseph Litvak.
2006 Lerman-Neubauer Award for Outstanding Teaching and Advising
2005 Named Fletcher Chair of English Literature
1998 Awarded the Distinguished Scholar Award by Tufts University
1994 Tufts Class of 1994 Recognition for Excellence
1993 Chosen by Alumni of Class of 1986 as one of Tufts' Most Influential Teachers
1989 Crompton-Noll Award of the MLA for "Redeeming the Phallus"
1989 Lillian and Joseph Leibner Award for Distinguished Teaching and Advising
- No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Duke University Press, 2004)
- Homographesis: Essays in Gay Literary and Cultural Theory (Routledge, 1994)
- Transmemberment of Song: Hart Crane's Anatomies of Rhetoric and Desire (Stanford, 1987)