Out in Public: Reinventing Lesbian / Gay Anthropology in a Globalizing World / Edition 1

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Out in Public addresses, and engages us in, the new and exciting directions in the emerging field of lesbian/gay anthropology. The authors confront the uneasy relationships between lesbian/gay anthropology and applied/public anthropology, whose practitioners have long insisted on a more objective, detached, and apolitical approach to problem-identification and practical problem-solving.

The book focuses on the authors' engagements in the everyday lives of lesbian/gay people, and describes the strategies that they, as public anthropologists, have used to promote effective intervention and change in LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual] communities. They report with candor on issues such as minority or transgressive sexualities and genders that have increasingly become central to political discourses both in the West and in the developing world. They illustrate how these developments occur not in isolation from one another, but as part of dialogues that are intensified by globalization and transnational flows of people and information. Readers will be intrigued by the complex intellectual, political, and theoretical developments that mark this developing field in anthropology. The authors of Out in Public offer a deeper conversation about the meaning of sexuality, subjectivity and culture.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"Lewin and Leap have done it again. Out in Public is an innovative collection of essays focusing on anthropology’s place in public debates over lesbian/gay lives. This book demonstrates the crucial contributions that lesbian/gay anthropology can offer contemporary debates over sexuality and justice."
Tom Boellstorff, University of California, Irvine

"For the contributors to this fine volume, practicing anthropology in public is not about "problem-solving."  Rather, to be out in practice is to use anthropology to protest the dominant gender order."
Richard Handler, University of Virginia

"Lewin and Leap have collected many intriguing insights about the neoliberal global order, real-world problems, and non-normative sexualities and genders.  Those looking for sharp analyses of contemporary sexual politics will find Out in Public to be indispensable It is a timely and fascinating read that demonstrates, once again, the centrality of lesbian/gay studies in anthropology to the field at large and to the wider academy."
Jeff Maskovsky, Queen’s College, City University of New York

"Insightful, rich portraits of Gay/Lesbian communities as they come Out in Public in Nicaragua, Thailand, Mexico, Nigeria, Europe, Singapore and the U.S. Anthropologists engage in contemporary debates such as gay marriage, gay fatherhood, LGBT rights, and HIV/AIDS prevention. Critical, sensitive, and compelling reading."
Louise Lamphere, University of New Mexico

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405191029
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/12/2009
  • Series: Readings in Engaged Anthropology Series, #2
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen Lewin is Professor of Women’s Studies and Anthropology at the University of Iowa. She is the author of Lesbian Mothers: Accounts of Gender in American Culture (Cornell University Press, 1993) and Recognizing Ourselves: Lesbian and Gay Ceremonies of Commitment (Columbia University Press, 1998), and the editor of Inventing Lesbian Cultures in America (Beacon Press, 1996) and of Feminist Anthropology: A Reader (Blackwell, 2006). With William L. Leap, she has co-edited two volumes of essays on lesbian and gay anthropology, Out in the Field: Reflections of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists (University of Illinois Press, 1996) and Out in Theory: The Emergence of Lesbian and Gay Anthropology (University of Illinois Press, 2002).

William Leap is Professor of Anthropology at American University. He is the author of Word’s Out: Gay Men’s English (University of Minnesota Press, 1996), and editor of Public Sex, Gay Space (Columbia University Press, 1999) and co-editor of Speaking in Queer Tongues: Globalization and Gay Language (University of Illinois Press, 2004). With Ellen Lewin, he has co-edited Out in the Field and Out in Theory.

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Table of Contents


Notes on Contributors.

Editors’ Introduction.

Part I. Out in Public: Reflecting on Experience.

1. My Date with Phil Donahue: A Queer Intellectual in TV-Land (Esther Newton, University of Michigan).

2. Changes and Challenges: Ethnography, Homosexuality, and HIV Prevention Work in Guadalajara (Héctor Carrillo, San Francisco State University).

3. Going Home Ain’t Always Easy: Ethnography and the Politics of Black Responsibility (E. Patrick Johnson, Northwestern University).

Part II. Sexual Sameness is not a Self-Evident Terrain.

4. The Personal Isn’t Always Political (Karen Brodkin, University of California, Los Angeles).

5. Who’s Gay? What’s Gay?: Dilemmas of Identity Among Gay Fathers (Ellen Lewin, University of Iowa).

6. A Queer Situation: Poverty, Prisons, and Performances of Infidelity and Instability in the New Orleans Lesbian Anthem (Natasha Sandraya Wilson, University of Iowa).

Part III. Unpacking the Engagements between Sexuality and Broader Ideological Positions.

7. Tuskegee on the "Down Low": A Bioculturalist Brings the Past into the Present (Rachel Watkins, American University).

8. Back and Forth to the Land: Negotiating Rural and Urban Sexuality Among the Radical Faeries (Scott Morgensen, Macalaster College).

9. The Power of Stealth: (In)Visible Sites of Female-to-Male Transsexual Resistance (Elijah Adiv Edelman, American University).

10. Rumsfeld!: Consensual BDSM and "Sadomasochistic Torture" at Abu Ghraib (Margot Weiss, Wesleyan University).

11. Professional Baseball, Urban Restructuring and (Changing) Gay Geographies in Washington DC (William L. Leap, American University).

Part IV. International and Local Formations of Same-Sex and Transgender Identities.

12. Public Sex:The Geography of Female Homoeroticism and the (In)Visibility of Female Sexualities (Megan Sinnott, Georgia State University).

13. Neither in the Closet nor on the Balcony: Private Lives and Public Activism in Nicaragua (Florence Babb, University of Florida).

14. Life Lube:Discursive Spheres of Sexuality, Science, and AIDS (Harris Solomon, Brown University).

15. Man Marries Man in Nigeria? (Rudolf Gaudio, State University of New York College, Purchase)

Part V. Sexuality and Neo-liberal Citizenship.

16. LGBT Rights in the European Union, a Queer Affair? (Mark Graham, University of Stockholm).

17. Turning the Lion City Pink?: Interrogating Singapore’s Gay Civil Servant Statement (Chris Tan, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign).

18. The Marriage between Kinship and Sexuality in New Mexico’s Domestic Partnership Debate (Lavinia Nicolae, University of New Mexico).

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