Forget neat explanations. In this splendid book, Johnson (gender studies, Indiana Univ.) teaches us to suspect received wisdom and acknowledge, in this instance, that "identities are always riven, unstable, and discursively entropic." The author's goal is to dispel the notion that in the first half of the 20th century, same-sex intimacy and gender noncomformity were urban specific. Johnson demonstrates how this "rural repressive hypothesis" ignores social, political, and geographic facts that tell a very different story. Using striking evidence from newspapers, archival sources, books, music, and more, Johnson illustrates that life on the farm, at the local YMCA, in Civilian Conservation Corps camps, and in small towns such as Mansfield, OH, was a lot more nuanced than most of us, including scholars and "ordinary citizens," knew. Johnson proves the worth of rigorous, scholarly interdisciplinary research. With relatively little discipline-specific jargon and keeping close tabs on the research process itself, he unearths new evidence while also calling into question the way we make assumptions. VERDICT This complex and original work should be read widely by all readers in its interrelated disciplines.—Ellen Gilbert, Princeton, NJ
Meet the Author
Colin R. Johnson is Assistant Professor of Gender Studies and Adjunct Assistant Professor of American Studies, History, and Human Biology at Indiana University, Bloomington.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews