The Other Americans: Sexual Variance in the National Past

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This is a combination of essays from several disciplines with incisive commentary by the editor. This volume provides a unique perspective on sexual variance as a dimension of the larger social history of the United States.

Every society has had to confront the issue of sexual expression or behavior, in practice, if not in theory. It is a basic management issue which must be addressed. Theorizing about sex is a relatively recent phenomenon in American history, dating from no earlier than the beginning of the 20th century. In recent decades this interest has produced an enormous outpouring of literature of sexuality, dealing largely with what we do, how we do it, and how to do it better. Such inquiry has been, however, essentially the province of anthropology, psychology, and sociology. The historical perspective on sexuality has been less well treated. Some attention to this omission has occurred in recent years. Even so, minimal attention has been given to practices beyond the boundary of acceptable sexuality, namely sexual deviance or stigmatized sexual behavior.

The primary aim of this volume is to provide a compact and selective perspective on sexual deviance as one dimension of American societal history. It does so by examining attitudes and practices from the colonial era onward. The essays speak collectively to the history of American culture as well as to the history of variant practice. This is basic reading for all students of American social and sexual history, and gender specialized courses.

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Editorial Reviews

A collection of previously published essays that provides a perspective on sexual variance as one dimension of American social history. The primary concern is with the commonality of American management of, interaction with, and response to practice beyond the defined boundaries of "respectable" sexuality. Most of the articles were originally published in scholarly journals over the last 25 years. The organization is primarily chronological, with sections corresponding to Early America, Victorian America, and the twentieth century. Includes a bibliographical essay, "Writing the History of Sexual Variance in America." Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275955519
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 276
  • Lexile: 1500L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

CHARLES O. JACKSON is Associate Dean in the Arts and Sciences College and a Professor of History at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is the author of four earlier books, including Passing: The Vision of Death in America (Greenwood Press, 1977).

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Table of Contents

A Beginning: On Sexual "Normality" and "Deviance" in America, a Perspective in History
Law and the Enforcement of Morals in Early America 9
"Things Fearful to Name": Sodomy and Buggery in Seventeenth-Century New England 24
"To Ravish and Carnally Know": Rape in Eighteenth-Century Massachusetts 37
The Urban Geography of Commercial Sex: Prostitution in New York City, 1790-1860 55
Homosexuality and Its Confusion with the "Secret Sin" in Pre-Freudian America 82
Tacit Acceptance: Respectable Americans and Segregated Prostitution, 1870-1910 93
Feminist Responses to "Crimes against Women," 1868-1896 109
The Morbidification of Love between Women by Nineteenth-Century Sexologists 126
Seduced and Abandoned in an American City: Cleveland and Its Fallen Women, 1869-1936 139
Prostitution, the Alien Woman and the Progressive Imagination, 1910-1915 165
The Reproduction of Butch-Fem Roles: A Social Constructionist Approach 177
A Feminist Redefinition of Rape and Sexual Assault: Historical Foundations and Change 191
Gay Villain, Gay Hero: Homosexuality and the Social Construction of AIDS 204
An Ending: Stalking "The Other Americans" 223
Bibliographical Essay: Writing the History of Sexual Variance in America 235
Index 247
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