In a New Century: Essays on Queer History, Politics, and Community Life

Overview


For gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the United States, the twenty-first century has brought dramatic changes: the end of sodomy laws, the elimination of ?Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell,? a move toward recognition of same-sex marriage, Gay-Straight Alliances in thousands of high schools, and an explosion of visibility in the media and popular culture. All of this would have been unimaginable to those living just a few decades ago. Yet, at the same time, the American political system has grown ever more ...
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In a New Century: Essays on Queer History, Politics, and Community Life

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Overview


For gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the United States, the twenty-first century has brought dramatic changes: the end of sodomy laws, the elimination of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a move toward recognition of same-sex marriage, Gay-Straight Alliances in thousands of high schools, and an explosion of visibility in the media and popular culture. All of this would have been unimaginable to those living just a few decades ago. Yet, at the same time, the American political system has grown ever more conservative, and increasing economic inequality has been a defining feature of the new century.
            A pioneering scholar of gay history, John D’Emilio reflects in this wide-ranging collection of essays upon the social, cultural, and political changes provoked by LGBT activism. He offers provocative questions and historical analyses: What can we learn from a life-long activist like Bayard Rustin, who questioned the wisdom of “identity politics”? Was Richard Nixon a “gay liberationist”? How can knowing local stories—like those of Chicago in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s—help build stronger communities and enrich traditions of activism? Might the focus on achieving actually be evidence of growing conservatism in LGBT communities?
            In a New Century provides a dynamic, thoughtful, and important resource for identifying changes that have occurred in the United States since 1960, taking stock of the work that still needs to be done, and issuing an urgent call to action for getting there.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/10/2014
The daunting task of keeping the flame of post-Stonewall gay activism burning for a new generation eludes even formidable gay historian D’Emilio (Lost Prophet), a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Though well-crafted as always, his third collection of essays, transcribed lectures, and newspaper columns suffers from a scolding tone, as he implores readers to appreciate the importance of this era. However, the section “Doing History” showcases D’Emilio at his approachable, amiable best as he presents an invigoratingly unacademic view into what history reveals. If followed by anything as enlightening about GLBT community goals in a new era, it would have been a different book altogether, but instead columns written for Chicago’s Windy City Times on such topics as lesbian pulp fiction, the Mattachine Society, and Anita Bryant read more as filler. Frequently repetitive, focusing sometimes on D’Emilio’s own experiences as a community activist or repurposing research materials from Lost Prophet, the collection ends with a 2006 essay recycling familiar tropes on how marriage equality betrays the gay liberation ethos, encapsulating the missed opportunity here: how to recover relevance in a changing world. (May)
From the Publisher

“John D’Emilio has done it again. These captivating essays by one of our most illustrious historians and scholar-activists connect past to present in a way that helps us to think about and work toward a more just future.”—Leila J. Rupp, author of Sapphistries: A Global History of Love between Women

“A collection from one of the finest, most thoughtful historians of gay and lesbian social history.”—David Bergman, editor of Gay American Autobiography

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299297749
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2014
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 282
  • Sales rank: 1,419,559
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John D'Emilio

John D’Emilio is a professor of gender and women’s studies and of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author and editor of more than half a dozen books, including Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities; Intimate Matters; The World Turned; and Lost Prophet, a National Book Award finalist.

Biography

John D'Emilio is professor of history and of gender and women's studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, from 1995 to 1997 he served as the Founding Director of the Policy Institute at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. He is the co-author of Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (1997). He earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1982.

Author biography courtesy of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Good To Know

In our interview, D'Emilio shared some fun facts and fascinating insights with us:

"I eat cereal every night before bed, and eat it with orange juice rather than milk. Cheerios and Grape Nuts are my current favorites."

"I won the citywide essay contest of the Archdiocese of New York back in 1961 or 1962, and got written up (I think on the front page, but I'm not sure) in the New York Herald Tribune -- a great paper, now defunct."

"Every time I get a new computer, I have to delete all the games on it because if I didn't, I'd never get anything else done!"

"I make a chicken soup and a tomato sauce that is better than any I've ever had."

"I long for a time again in this country when values of generosity, community, justice, and peacefulness reign."

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    1. Hometown:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 21, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bronx, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Columbia University, 1970; Ph.D., 1982

Table of Contents


Introduction: Writing History, Making Change                    
 
Part I: Strategizing Change
1 The State of Our Movements: Some Reflections                           
2 Beyond Queer Nationalism: Changing Strategies for Changing Times                               
3 The Gay Movement and the Left                           
4 Listening to Rustin: Lessons from an Agitator for Justice                         
 
Part II: Doing History
5 Why I Write                        
6 Putting Sex into History and History into Sex                               
7 History, Social Movements, and Community Organizing                         
8 If I Knew Then: Doing Oral History                                  
9 Finding History, Creating Community                               
10 The Power of Community History                                  
 
Part III: Local Stories
11 Who Wears the Pants?                              
12 The Lavender Scare in Chicago                             
13 Pulp Madness                               
14 Valerie Taylor: A Woman for All Generations                             
15 In the News                                  
16 Gay Power!                                  
17 Risky Business                             
18 Let's Dance!                                  
19 Writing for Freedom                                 
20 Dade County, USA                                  
21 Every Kick Is a Boost                              
 
Part IV: History's Lessons
22 Remembering Bayard Rustin                                
23 The 1979 March on Washington: Its Place in History                             
24 Some Lessons from Lawrence                              
25 Rethinking Queer History. Or, Richard Nixon, Gay Liberationist?                                 
26 The Campaign for Marriage Equality: A Dissenting View                                   
 
Acknowledgments                             
Notes
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