Synopses & Reviews
Margaret Mead Made Me Gay
is the intellectual autobiography of cultural anthropologist Esther Newton, a pioneer in gay and lesbian studies. Chronicling the development of her ideas from the excitement of early feminism in the 1960s to friendly critiques of queer theory in the 1990s, this collection covers a range of topics such as why we need more precise sexual vocabularies, why there have been fewer women doing drag than men, and how academia can make itself more hospitable to queers. It brings together such classics as andldquo;The Mythic Mannish Lesbianandrdquo; and andldquo;Dick(less) Tracy and the Homecoming Queenandrdquo; with entirely new work such as andldquo;Theater: Gay Anti-Church.andrdquo;
Newtonandrsquo;s provocative essays detail a queer academic career while offering a behind-the-scenes view of academic homophobia. In four sections that correspond to major periods and interests in her lifeandmdash;andrdquo;Drag and Camp,andrdquo; andldquo;Lesbian-Feminism,andrdquo; andldquo;Butch,andrdquo; and andldquo;Queer Anthropologyandrdquo;andmdash;the volume reflects her successful struggle to create a body of work that uses cultural anthropology to better understand gender oppression, early feminism, theatricality and performance, and the sexual and erotic dimensions of fieldwork. Combining personal, theoretical, and ethnographic perspectives, Margaret Mead Made Me Gay also includes photographs from Newtonandrsquo;s personal and professional life.
With wise and revealing discussions of the complex relations between experience and philosophy, the personal and the political, and identities and practices, Margaret Mead Made Me Gay is important for anyone interested in the birth and growth of gay and lesbian studies.
This intellectual autobiography of a cultural anthropologist and pioneer in gay and lesbian studies chronicles the development of Newton's ideas, from the excitement of early feminism in the 1960s to friendly critiques of queer theory in the 1990s. Her provocative essays offer a behind-the-scenes view of academic homophobia. 23 photos.
A collection of essays by a pioneering queer anthropologist.
About the Author
“Esther Newton is, quite simply, a pioneering figure in researching contemporary queer populations, as well as one of the most important voices in post WWII anthropology. We are very fortunate to finally have her essays assembled into an accessible collection. This anthology is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in late twentieth-century anthropology, feminism, gay and lesbian studies, gender and sexuality, and the social science of everyday life.”—Gayle Rubin“Esther Newton’s work . . . has changed anthropology, feminist studies, and queer studies in remarkable ways. . . . Newton’s methodological innovation has less to do with crafting new empirical tools and more to do with a creative and inspired mode of listening and participating in the cultures she studies.”—from the Foreword by Judith Halberstam“I was looking for any way out, some Mad Hatter to lead me down a rabbit hole into a world where I didn't have to carry a clutch purse and want to be dominated by some guy with a crew cut and no neck...So that when I read Coming of Age in Samoa, my senior year in college, I was, to put it mildly, receptive."”—from the Introduction by Esther Newton“This is a wonderful collection. Newton is a powerful intellectual whose reflections on her own work not only illuminate her life but also the relation between the academy and the social movements of the last thirty years.”—Elizabeth L. Kennedy, author of Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community