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From Adolescent Boys to Queer Young Men

Support for and Silencing of Queer Voice in Schools, Families, and Communities

Michael Sadowski

Gilligan (1996) and other feminist relational psychologists have identified a “silencing” to which adolescent girls are vulnerable when they confront pressures to conform to patriarchal values and norms in various social contexts. As Machoian (2005) and other researchers have noted, the silencing of girls’ authentic voices at adolescence is associated with heightened risk for depression and for suicide, cutting, eating disorders, and other self-harming behaviors. This article is based on in-depth interviews that examined the ways in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identifying youth might be subject to an analogous silencing of their authentic “queer voices.” Drawing on four case studies of male youth who participated in a larger qualitative research project, the article examines how schools, families, and communities both supported and silenced the authentic expression of their voices as gay- or queer-identifying boys. Since two of the case studies are based on interviews with participants at both late adolescence and young adulthood, the article also examines the effects of supportive factors over time and how they helped contribute to a purposeful, voiced sense of queer male identity as the participants reached manhood.

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Beyond the Myth of Lesbian Montmartre

The Case of Chez Palmyre

Leslie Choquette

This article focuses on one emblematic figure of lesbian Montmartre during the belle époque, the notorious restaurateur Palmyre. After managing the lesbian brasserie La Souris in the 1890s, Palmyre opened her own establishment, Palmyr’s Bar, opposite the Moulin Rouge in the early twentieth century. Palmyre’s restaurants, the second of which catered to gays as well as lesbians, feature in police, judicial, and fiscal archives as well as the visual arts, journalism, fiction, and memoir. Palmyre’s story, besides conveying a slice of lesbian life in Montmartre during the belle époque, illustrates the importance of lesbian and gay entrepreneurs and entertainers to the making of “Gay Paree.” Establishments like Palmyre’s, no less than the bohemian cabarets and giant music halls, contributed to the development of commercialized mass culture in the city, while also providing community space and artistic outlets for Paris’s gays and lesbians.

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Tom Boellstorff

It is remarkable how few Westerners know that Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation (after China, India, and the United States), or that Indonesia is home to more Muslims than any other country. These basic facts should be enough to establish Indonesia’s importance for current world affairs. In this essay, however, I argue for paying attention to the life-worlds of gay and lesbian Indonesians. While this might seem an unconventional topic, these Indonesians’ lives provide valuable clues to how being ‘Indonesian’ gets defined and to the workings of nation-states more generally. They teach us how heteronormativity—the assumption that heterosexuality is the only normal or proper sexuality—plays a fundamental role in forming nation-states as “imagined communities.” In Indonesia and elsewhere, nation-states are modeled on a particular archetype of the nuclear family (husband, wife, and children, with the nation’s president as parent). In line with this model, nation-states often portray themselves as made up not just of individual citizens but of families, which almost always are assumed to be nuclear families despite the staggering range of family forms found in the world’s cultures. Restricting the family model to the heterosexual couple has been a key means by which the idea of the Indonesian nation (and other nations) has been promulgated and sustained. Thus, rather than see the exclusion of homosexuality as a latter-day response to an encroaching global gay and lesbian movement, this exclusion is most accurately understood as a point of departure by which the idea of ‘Indonesia’ comes to exist in the first place.

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Lady into Fox, Fox into Lady

Rewriting Lesbian Stereotypes in Summer Will Show

Gay Wachman

Intertextuality is basic to Sylvia Townsend Warner’s narratives: she is a formidably learned, effortlessly allusive writer. From her slyly absurd references to Wordsworth in the lush tropical setting of Mr. Fortune’s Maggot (1927) through her retelling of Apuleius’s Cupid and Psyche to produce an allegory of class oppression in her first historical novel, The True Heart (1929), to the densely woven intertextuality of Summer Will Show (1936), she uses allusion both to ground her apparently implausible narratives within literary history and to question and parody the politics, ‘history’, and narratology of her predecessors. It is appropriate that in this novel, where the lesbian romance in Paris is precisely coterminous with the 1848 revolution, many of the allusions are to nineteenth-century French literary history. Warner’s ‘unwriting’ of Flaubert’s L’Éducation Sentimentale has received a great deal of attention since it was first noted by Terry Castle in her 1990 theorisation of the lesbian triangular plot. Later writers, in contrast, have emphasised the allusion’s Marxist significance. Quite another fictional genealogy seems more to the point, however, when we consider Warner’s characterisation of Minna Lemuel, the revolutionary Jewish story-teller: the representation, usually by women writers, of the powerful, sexually active, sometimes evil and sometimes doomed femme artiste, as in Madame de Stael’s Corinne, Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, George Sand’s Consuelo, and Colette’s La Seconde. It is now abundantly clear that the intertextuality of Summer Will Show demonstrates that the novel is narratologically, politically, and sexually revolutionary.

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Jane de Gay

Virginia Woolf made a seminal contribution to feminist literary history and provided the discipline with some of its most memorable quotations. In A Room of One’s Own, she urged her audience of female students at Cambridge University to ‘rewrite history’ by seeking out figures neglected by conventional (patriarchal) histories in order to trace a female tradition, a concept she described as ‘thinking back through our mothers’.1 She sketched how such a tradition might look, tracing a line from Lady Winchilsea and Aphra Behn, Fanny Burney and Jane Austen through to George Eliot and the Brontës, considering how the conditions of these writers’ lives affected their work, and also looking at how gender might influence their use of language and choice of genre. Behind Woolf’s historical sketch lies an imaginative attempt to reclaim lost origins: Woolf notes that there was no female Shakespeare because conditions in the Renaissance would have made it impossible for a woman to write for the theatre. She creates an imaginary starting-point for her history by sketching a fictional biography of Shakespeare’s sister, Judith, whose life could only have ended in failure and suicide. Woolf concludes by urging her audience to imaginatively reclaim these lost origins in their own writings

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'The Bray of the Gramophones and the Voices of the Poets'

Art and Political Crises in Between the Acts

Jane de Gay

In ‘Why Art Follows Politics’, published in The Daily Worker in 1936, Virginia Woolf remarked on a change in the conditions for creativity in the late 1930s. She wrote that the artist’s studio was now ‘far from being a cloistered spot where he can contemplate his model or his apple in peace’, for it was ‘besieged by voices, all disturbing, some for one reason, some for another.’ She characterised the developing political crisis in terms of auditory disturbance or interruption, including the noises of radio news; the voices of dictators addressing the public by megaphone in the streets, and public opinion, which, Woolf wrote, called for artists to prove their social and political usefulness. In extreme political systems, artists were forced to compromise and use their work for political purposes – to ‘celebrate fascism; celebrate communism’ – in order to be allowed to practise at all.

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The Kids Are All Right But the Lesbians Aren't

The Illusion of Progress in Popular Film

Vicki L. Eaklor

The film The Kids Are All Right, centered on a lesbian couple and their two teenage children, was released in 2010 following a media blitz selling it as a groundbreaking film. Many queer viewers (like this author) eagerly awaited this supposed step forward in lesbian representation, only to be disappointed once again by mainstream stereotypes and tropes. This article takes a close look at the film against the backdrop of lesbian images and themes in “Hollywood“ films, particularly in the last twenty years, and argues that continuities, while sometimes more subtle, override the illusion of progress in portraying lesbians. Finally, there is speculation about why genuine change in mainstream film may be impossible under current societal and economic systems.

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Reports

Publications, Films and Conferences

Jean-Pierre Digard, Leili S. Mohammadi and Gay Breyley

PUBLICATIONS

Chatty, Dawn and Finlayson, Bill (eds.) (2009), Dispossession and Displacement: Forced Migration in the Middle East and North Africa (Oxford: Oxford University Press for the British Academy, British Academy Occasional Paper No. 14), 298 pp.

FILMS

Jalali, Babak (2009), Frontier Blues, Iran/U.K./Italy, 95 minutes.

CONFERENCES

‘Knowledge and Value in a Globalising World’, July 2011, IUAES/AAS/ASAANZ Joint Conference, University of Western Australia

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Eugenia Gay, Philipp Nielsen, Emanuel Richter, Gregor Feindt and Ethan L. Menchinger

To Build a Concept for European History

Willibald Steinmetz, Michael Freeden, and Javier Fernández-Sebastián, eds., Conceptual History in the European Space (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2017), 320 pp.

Ideals against Practice: A History of Parliamentary Politics in Europe

Pasi Ihalainen, Cornelia Ilie, and Kari Palonen, eds., Parliament and Parliamentarism: A Comparative History of a European Concept (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2016) xi + 327 pp.

The Variety and Complexity of Republican Thinking

Martin Papenheim and Raymonde Monnier, Handbuch politisch-sozialer Grundbegriffe in Frankreich 1680–1820, Heft 21: Politique / République, Républicanisme, Républicain [Handbook of politico-social foundations in France 1680–1820, vol. 21: Politics / Republic, republican, republicanism], ed. Rolf Reichardt, Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink, and Jörn Leonard (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017), 265 pp.

Processual Ideology: Vernacular Socialist Discourse in Central and Eastern Europe after Stalin

Pavel Kolář, Der Poststalinismus: Ideologie und Utopie einer Epoche [Poststalinism: Ideology and utopia of an epoch] (Cologne: Böhlau, 2018), 370 pp.

Republican Thought in Turkey Centuries of Tradition?

Banu Turnaoǧlu, The Formation of Turkish Republicanism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017), 320 pp.

Free access

Jennifer Birkett, David Bradshaw, John E. Coombes, Andy Croft, Jane de Gay, Rainer Emig, John Fordham, Chris Hopkins, David Margolies, Rick Rylance, Judy Simons, Gay Wachman, Patrick Williams, Mary Joannou and John Lucas

Notes on contributors