Folklore | Gay And Lesbian Studies in Cultural Perspective
F755 | 2095 | Proschan

Authorization is required to register for this course. Meets with
SEMS S650 and CULS C701. Crosslisted in Anthropology.
How are genders differently constituted by members of diverse
cultures around the world? Which sexual behaviors are affirmed,
and which condemned, by various societies?  How have cultural
constructions of gender and sexuality changed over time within
Euroamerican intellectual tradition, and within other intellectual
traditions? How do understandings of sexuality and gender interact=D4
are the bases on which sexual minority communities coalesce, and
what are the means by which they communicate internally and
externally? And how can the approaches of anthropology, folklore,
linguistics, and cultural studies help us to answer such questions
as these?
This course takes as its subject matter (non-heterosexual)
sexualities and gender identities in all their polymorphous
historical and ethnographic variety (including gay male, lesbian,
bisexual, transsexual, transgendered, intersexual, etc.). It takes
as its approach a comparative, global, and multicultural
perspective. It takes as its method the tools of ethnography,
folklore, cultural studies, and semiotics. It takes as its goal to
encourage students to undertake serious study of topics of
interest to them. It takes as its premise that the comparative
study of gay and lesbian (etc.) cultures is a central part of the
larger study of sex, gender, and sexuality, and a central part of
the study of human societies.
The course will involve heavy reading, classroom discussions and
presentations, independent research, and a substantial writing
requirement. Two guest lectures will be scheduled for Wednesday
evenings. Graduate students from diverse disciplines are welcome
as long as they are interested in serious study and committed to
meeting the course requirements.
Requirements: Students will be required to keep current with
readings and prepare occasional abstracts of selected readings; to
conduct one seminar discussion; to conduct research at the library
of the Kinsey Institute; and to prepare a final term paper.
Readings will include:
Blackwood, Evelyn, ed. 1986. The many faces of homosexuality:
anthropological approaches to homosexual behavior. New York:
Harrington Park Press.
Bleys, Rudi. 1995. The geography of perversion: male-to-male
sexual behaviour outside the West and the ethnographic
imagination, 1750-1918. New York: New York University Press.
Goodwin, Joseph P. 1989. More man than you'll ever be: gay
folklore and acculturation in middle America. Bloomington:
Indiana University Press.
Kennedy, Elizabeth Lapovsky and Madeline D. Davis. 1993. Boots of
leather, slippers of gold: the history of a lesbian
community. New York: Routledge.=20
Newton, Esther. 1972. Mother camp: female impersonators in
America. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
Weston, Kath. 1991. Families we choose: lesbians, gays, kinship.
New York: Columbia University Press.=20
And selections from works including:
Chauncey, George. 1994. Gay New York: gender, urban culture, and
the makings of the gay male world, 1890-1940. New York:
Basic Books.
Garber, Marjorie. 1992. Vested interests: cross-dressing &=D4
Herdt, Gilbert, ed. 1994. Third sex, third gender : beyond sexual
dimorphism in culture and history. New York: Zone Books,
Kulick, Don and Margaret Willson, eds. 1995. Taboo: sex, identity,
and erotic subjectivity in anthropological fieldwork. New
York: Routledge.
Leap, William L. 1996. Word's out: gay men's English. Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press.
Leap, William L., ed. 1995. Beyond the lavender lexicon:
authenticity, imagination and appropriation in lesbian and
gay languages. New York: Gordon and Breach.
Lewin, Ellen and William Leap, eds. 1996. Out in the field:
reflections of lesbian and gay anthropologists. Urbana:
University of Illinois Press.
Murray, Stephen O. 1996. American Gay. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press.
Instructor will be out of the country during registration. Email
inquiries (to "") will be answered within
approximately two weeks. Transcripts will show only the official
course title (e.g., "Folklore, Culture, and Society"), not the
topical subtitle (i.e., "Gay and Lesbian Cultures in Comparative