Elizabeth Freeman

Elizabeth Freeman

Position Title
Professor of English

278 Voorhies Hall

Education and Degree(s)

Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1996
M.A.,  University of Chicago, 1991
B.A. with Highest Honors in English,  Oberlin College, 1989


Elizabeth Freeman began her teaching career at Sarah Lawrence College, coming to UC Davis in 2000. She specializes in American literature and gender/sexuality/queer studies, and her articles have appeared in numerous scholarly journals. She has written two books,  The Wedding Complex: Forms of Belonging in Modern American Culture (Duke UP, 2002), and Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories (Duke UP, 2010).  She was also the editor of a special issue of GLQ, "Queer Temporalities" (2007).  Between 2011 and 2017, she served as Co-Editor of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies.

Publication Spotlight

Time Binds (Duke University Press, 2010)

Time Binds is a powerful argument that temporal and sexual dissonance are intertwined, and that the writing of history can be both embodied and erotic. Challenging queer theory’s recent emphasis on loss and trauma, Elizabeth Freeman foregrounds bodily pleasure in the experience and representation of time as she interprets an eclectic archive of queer literature, film, video, and art. She examines work by visual artists who emerged in a commodified, “postfeminist,” and “postgay” world. Yet they do not fully accept the dissipation of political and critical power implied by the idea that various political and social battles have been won and are now consigned to the past. By privileging temporal gaps and narrative detours in their work, these artists suggest ways of putting the past into meaningful, transformative relation with the present. Such “queer asynchronies” provide opportunities for rethinking historical consciousness in erotic terms, thereby countering the methods of traditional and Marxist historiography. Central to Freeman’s argument are the concepts of chrononormativity, the use of time to organize individual human bodies toward maximum productivity; temporal drag, the visceral pull of the past on the supposedly revolutionary present; and erotohistoriography, the conscious use of the body as a channel for and means of understanding the past. Time Binds emphasizes the critique of temporality and history as crucial to queer politics.

Honors and Awards

  • ACLS Fellowship, 2015-16
  • Norman Foerster Award for Best Essay in American Literature, 2014
  • UC Davis Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award, 2013
  • University of California President's Research Fellowship in the Humanities, 2006-2007
  • Chancellor's Fellowship, University of California, Davis, 2005-2009
  • Consortium for Women and Research Academic Senate Project Grant, UCD, 2004
  • Undergraduate Instructional Improvement Grants, UCD, 2004, 2002, 2001
  • Small Grant in Aid of Research, UCD, 2005, 07, 09, 13,
  • Faculty Research Grants, UCD, 2003-04, 2002-03, 2001-02, 2001
  • Dean's Publication Fund Grant, 2008-09, 2001-02
  • Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Penn Humanities Forum, 1999-2000
  • Mellon Dissertation Award, University of Chicago, (declined),1995 -96
  • Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, 1990-95
  • Florence May Snell Fellowship for Graduate Study, Oberlin College, 1988-92
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Zeta Chapter of Ohio, 1988



  • Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories. Duke University Press 2010.
  • The Wedding Complex: Forms of Belonging in Modern American Culture. Duke University Press, 2002.
  • Editor of Queer Temporalities, special double issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian Gay Studies 13.2/3 (Winter/Spring 2007).


  • "Shakers, Not Movers: The Physiopolitics of Shaker Dance."  In Cindy Weinstein, ed. A Question of Time : From Colonial Encounter to Contemporary Fiction.  Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2018.
  • "Afterward."  In Sexual Disorientations: Queer Temporalities, Affects, Theologies, ed. Kent Brintnall and Joseph Marchal.  Fordham University Press, forthcoming 2017.
  • "Timing Sex in the Age of Digital Reproduction" Special Issue of New Formations, "Timing TransFormations." Forthcoming 2017.

  • “Synchronic/Anachronic.” In Joel Burges and Amy Elias, eds. Time: a Vocabulary of the Present (New York: NYU Press, 2016).

  • “Hopeless Cases: Queer Chronicities and Gertrude Stein’s ‘Melanctha.’” Journal of Homosexuality 63.3 (2016): 329-348.

  • “Sacramentality in Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood.” American Literature, special issue on “After the Post-Secular,” eds. Peter Coviello and Jared Hickman, forthcoming December 2014.  Winner of the 2014 Norman Foerster Prize for best essay in American Literature.
  • “Connecticut Yankings: Mark Twain and the Masturbating Dude.” Dana Luciano and Ivy Wilson, eds., Unsettled States: Nineteenth Century American Literary Studies (NYU Press, 2014).
  • Response to Social Text Periscope online dossier on Time Binds,http://socialtextjournal.org/periscope_topic/time_binds/, July 2014.
  • “The Chronic: Renate Lorenz in Conversation with Mathias Danbolt and Elizabeth Freeman” (in German), Springerin 1 (Winter 2014): 17-23. 
  • “Lessons from Object Lessons.”  Feminist Formations 25.3 (December 2013). 
  • “Never the Usual Terms: A Song for 21st Century Occupations,” written with Peter Coviello,Social Text Periscope online dossier on “Work and Idleness in the Age of the Great Recession,”http://socialtextjournal.org/periscope_topic/work-and-idleness-in-the-age-of-the-great-recession/, February 2013.
  • “Normal Work: Temporal Drag and the Question of Class.”  Catalogue essay for Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, Temporal Drag (Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2011), 1976-1980.
  • “Reimagining Gender and Sexuality,” The Cambridge History of the American Novel(Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011).
  • “Sacramentality and the Lesbian Premodern,” in The Lesbian Premodern, eds. Noreen Giffneyet. al.  (Palgrave Macmillan, New Middle Ages Series, 2011).
  • “We’re Only Making Plans for Nigel.  In Response to Didier Eribon.”  Qui Parle 18.2 (2010), 323-27.
  • “Turn the Beat Around: Sadomasochism, Temporality, History.” differences 19.1 (2008): 32-70.
  • "Still After." South Atlantic Quarterly 106.3, special issue, "After Sex," eds. Andrew Parker and Janet Halley (Summer 2007).
  • "Queer Belongings: Kinship Theory and Queer Theory." A Companion to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies, eds. George Haggerty and Molly McGarry (Blackwell Press, 2007), 295-314.
  • "Monsters, Inc.: Notes on the Neoliberal Arts Education." New Literary History, 36.1, special issue, "Essays in the Humanities." (Winter 2005): 83-96.
  • "Time Binds, or, Erotohistoriography." Social Text #84-85 special issue, The New Queer Theory (October 2005): 57-68.
  • "The Whole(y) Family: Economies of Kinship in the Progressive Era." American Literary History16.4 (Winter 2004): 619-47.
  • "Queer Bonds." Concerns 27 (Winter 2000): 21-37.
  • "Packing History, Count(er)ing Generations." New Literary History  31.4 (Autumn 2000): 727-44.
  • “Honeymoon with a Stranger: Pedophiliac Picaresques from Poe to Nabokov.” American Literature 70.1 (December 1998): 109-154.
  • “‘The We of Me’: The Member of the Wedding’s Novel Alliances.” Women and Performance 8.2 (1996): 111-135.
  • "Teaching Outside the Curriculum: Guerrilla Sex Education and the Public Schools." Coauthored with Anne-Elizabeth Murdy and Scott Mendel. Radical Teacher 45 (Summer, 1994): 17-19.
  • " 'What Factory Girls Had Power to Do' : The Techno-logic of Working Class Feminine Publicity in the Lowell Offering." Arizona Quarterly 50.2 (Summer, 1994): 109-128
  • "Queer Nationality." Coauthored with Lauren Berlant. boundary 2 (Spring 1992): 149-80. Reprinted in Fear of a Queer Planet, ed. Michael Warner (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993) : 193-229.