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People with a History: An Online Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans* History

Site Maintainer: Paul Halsall
©1997


Contents:

Introduction: History and Theory

Go to the following pages for other parts of People with a History


Introduction

Back to Contents


Chapter 1: History and Theory

For teachers of courses on LGBT subjects an important choice is always whether to address "events and people" or "theory" first. In most areas of history this is simply not an issue: courses focus on periods and any relevant "theory" -- for example, Marxist economics, Whig politics -- is discussed as it come up. But LGBT history almost from the outset has been intertwined with complex discussions about what makes a "homosexual". It is also true that much of the evidence about "homosexuality" in the past survives in sources which have long been of interest to philologists, philosophers, and literary critics. The result is that the field is awash with jargonistic discussions. These discussions are not, however, pointless, and have raised basic questions about the entire arena of the history of human sexuality.

Discussions:

Reviews:

  • David M. Halperin: Eribon, D.: Michel Foucault [Review at Bryn Mawr Classical Review] Didier Eribon, Michel Foucault, trans. Betsy Wing. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991
  • Kathryn Gutzwiller: Halperin, D.M., One Hundred Years of Homosexuality [Review at Bryn Mawr Classical Review] David M. Halperin. One Hundred Years of Homosexuality: and Other Essays on Greek Love New York and London: Routledge, 1990. [A gushing review]
  • Amy Richlin: Halperin, D.M.: One Hundred Years of Homosexuality [Review at Bryn Mawr Classical Review] David M. Halperin. One Hundred Years Of Homosexuality: and Other Essays on Greek Love. New York and London: Routledge, 1990. [Less gushing]
  • Alison M. Keith: Winkler, J.J.: The Constraints of Desire[Review at Bryn Mawr Classical Review] John J. Winkler. The Constraints of Desire. The Anthropology of Sex and Gender in Ancient Greece. New York & London: Routledge, 1990.
  • Review of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet (1990) [At Gay Book Reviews]
    One of the most influential books on queer theory.
  • Websites:

    • Queer Frontiers [At USC]
      An important "Queer Theory" site.
    • Contemporary Philosophy, Critical Theory and Postmodern Thought Resources.
    • Foucault Home Page [At CSUN]
      Discussion of the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault has been central to some recent historiography of LGBT's. This is probably the best Foucault site, and has links to others. The links page here provides references to sites concerned with the other divinities of "theory" - Nietzsche, Lacan, Heidigger, Derrida, Deleuze. Some would argue it is all a commentary on Nietzsche.
    • The Gay Gene [At AOL]
      A site run by Chandler Burr for "both scientists and non-scientists. It contains articles and links to ongoing studies. Much of the "critical theory" aspect of discussion about LGBT history has been founded on the assumption that "sexuality" is a human "social construction". This notion does have solid backing from anthropological data. A major challenge to the "constructionist" position has arisen with the publication of a number of different studies which suggest that homosexuality has a genetic basis in at least some people.
    • The Scientific Debate on Homosexuality [At Internet Archive, from Dallas Net]
      Slightly "lighter" than the Gay Gene site.
    • Scientific Inquiries into Sexual Orientation [At CMU]

    Back to Contents


    © 1997, Paul Halsall, halsall@murray.fordham.edu [a picture!]
    Note: I read all mail, and keep much of it, but I will not be able to reply to all notes.

    Last updated April 12, 2007