Anne McClintock is a writer and public intellectual who currently holds the position of Simone de Beauvoir Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Born in Harare, Zimbabwe to Irish/Scottish parents, McClintock grew up through two anti-colonial revolutions. As a child, she moved with her family to apartheid South Africa, where she lived in a remote, coastal town beneath the Outeniqua Mountains on the Indian Ocean. There was no television, one tiny library. The nearest village was called the Wilderness. Around her, the anti-apartheid revolution had unstoppably erupted.
The first in her family to attend university, McClintock won a fellowship in 1973 to study English Literature and Philosophy at the University of Cape Town. There, she heard the word 'feminism' for the first time. When she proposed writing her thesis on African women’s literature, the chair of the English department acidly refused: "If you want to study women’s literature, Miss McClintock, go to the Anthropology Department."
McClintock became a lecturer in English at the University of Cape Town in 1978. A fellowship took her to Cambridge, UK, where she received an M.Phil in Linguistics. By then McClintock was an anti-apartheid writer and activist, and she returned to South Africa to teach English and History at Bonteheuwel High School in the turbulent years of the Soweto Uprising’s aftermath. In 1981 McClintock moved permanently to the United States, where she earned her Ph.D in English at Columbia University. She was an Associate Professor at Columbia until 1998, Visiting Professor at NYU’s English Department/Glucksman Ireland House, before moving to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999, where she currently teaches.
In 1995 McClintock published Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest, which has won many accolades and is widely read across a variety of disciplines. Imperial Leather was one of 300 books from across the humanities to be chosen for online publication by the ACLS Humanities E-Book Project (over 5 million readers). Imperial Leather has ranked number 1 (3 times) and in the top 5 (twice) out of over 2000 books in the last five years of the ACLS Humanities E-Book project.
McClintock co-edited Dangerous Liaisons: Gender, Race and Postcoloial Perspectives with Ella Shohat and Aamir Mufti. She has written two short biographies, on Olive Schreiner and Simone de Beauvoir, as well as a monograph, Double Crossings, on madness, sexuality and colonialism. She has edited Sex Workers and Sex Work, a collection of writings about sex work, and co-edited Queer Transexions of Race, Nation and Gender, a special issue of Social Text on the intersections of race and queer theory.
McClintock has four books in progress: Skin Hunger: A Chronicle of Sex, Money and Desire (Jonathan Cape); Planet of Intimate Trespass: Sexuality, Property and Power in a Global Era (Routledge); Paranoid Empire: Specters Beyond Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib (Duke University Press); and The Sex Work Reader (Vintage).
McClintock has been the recipient of many awards, including two MacArthur-SSRC Fellowships, a Woodrow Wilson/Charlotte Newcombe Fellowship, a Human Rights Distinguished Fellowship, and four Columbia Presidential Fellowships. McClintock has been awarded fourteen creative writing fellowships at prominent Artist Centers, including Blue Mountain Center for the Arts, The Macdowell Colony, Yaddo, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Dorland. McClintock's work has been profiled in the Encyclopedia of Feminist Theories (Routledge) and in the Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory (Blackwell-Wiley), under "Major Figures."
McClintock lectures widely in the United States and abroad on sexuality, race, gender, imperialism, nationalism, photography, and visual culture. She has delivered over 130 keynote addresses, invited lectures and conference papers, and has published over 60 articles, essays, and reviews, many of which have been widely anthologized and reprinted.
McClintock’s academic writing has appeared in Critical Inquiry, Transition, Social Text, New Formations, Feminist Review, South Atlantic Quarterly, and Small Axe, among other venues. Her work has been translated into French, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Swedish, Taiwanese and Mandarin.
McClintock’s work has been widely reviewed, with reviews appearing in the New York Times Book Review, Signs, Victorian Studies, Womens’ Review of Books, Choice, Feminist Review, Social History, American Anthropologist, Journal of the History of Sexuality, Journal of Caribbean Studies, Journal of Social History, Journal of Historical Geography, and Canadian Historical Review, among other venues.
McClintock’s creative writing and journalism has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian (London), The Times Literary Supplement, The Village Voice, New York Newsday, and The Women’s Review of Books.
McClintock has given numerous readings from her creative writing, including at the Wisconsin Book Festival, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the Berlin Institute, Yale University, Rice University, Blue Mountain Center, MacDowell, Yaddo, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has given radio interviews with Against The Grain, KPFA California, and WORT Radio, Madison.
McClintock serves on the editorial/advisory boards of Small Axe, Textual Practices, Fashion Theory and Critical Formations. She was on the editorial collective of Social Text from 1984-2000.
The abiding intellectual challenge of McClintock's work has been to understand the lived interlacings of gender, race and class within imperial modernity, from the late Victorian era, through apartheid South Africa, to the current U.S. 'War on Terror.' All her work interrogates how power is imposed, how it is lived in the flesh, how it is embodied in the most intimate objects and spaces of ordinary life, how it can be challenged and transformed.