Essays considering the history of queer lives in America
Modern American Queer History
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edited by Allida M. Black
In the twentieth century, countless Americans claimed gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender identities, forming a movement to secure social as well as political equality. This collection of essays considers the history as well as the historiography of the queer identities and struggles that developed in the United States in the midst of widespread upheaval and change.
Whether the subject is an individual life story, a community study, or an aspect of public policy, these essays illuminate the ways in which individuals in various locales understood the nature of their desires and the possibilities of resisting dominant views of normality and deviance. Theoretically informed, but accessible, the essays shed light too on the difficulties of writing history when documentary evidence is sparse or "coded." Taken together these essays suggest that while some individuals and social networks might never emerge from the shadows, the persistent exploration of the past for their traces is an integral part of the on-going struggle for queer rights.
"This book is recommended for the queer and unqueer alike. Not only comprehensive and engaging, it also marks an important step in the ongoing effort to define and illustrate the idea of queer scholarship."
"[T]his collection offers a more complicated portrayal of the middle of the century, the years between the depression of the 1930s and the social and political revolutions of the 1960s."
Read a review from Rain Taxi, written by Charisse Gendron (pdf).
1. Where Are We to Begin? John Howard
Part I: Categories of Sexuality
Part II: Evidence, Narrative, and Biography
Part III: Science, Fictions
Part IV: Community, Institutions
Part V: Public Debates and Public Policy
About the Contributors
Allida M. Black is Director and Editor of The Eleanor Roosevelt and Human Rights Project, as well as Research Professor of History, The George Washington University.
Contributors: Holly A. Baggett, Brett Beemyn, Jennifer Brier, Vicki L. Eaklor, John D’Emilio, Estelle B. Freedman, Chris Freeman, Margaret Rose Gladney, Julia Grant, John Howard, Ian K. Lekus, Leisa D. Meyer, Leila J. Rupp, Kimberly Springer, Marc Stein, and the editor.
In the series
Critical Perspectives on the Past, edited by Susan Porter Benson, Stephen Brier, and Roy Rosenzweig, is concerned with the traditional and nontraditional ways in which historical ideas are formed. In its attentiveness to issues of race, class, and gender and to the role of human agency in shaping events, the series is as critical of traditional historical method as content. Emphasizing that history is itself an interpretation of material events, the series demonstrates that the historian's choices of subject, narrative technique, and documentation are politically as well as intellectually constructed.