AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: HOW TO DO THE ETHNOGRAPHY OF HOMOSEXUALITY
Author: GAYLE RUBIN (University of Michigan)   
Date/Time: Fri., 2:15 PM
Co-Author(s): GAYLE RUBIN (University of Michigan) 
Abstract: When Esther Newton published Mother Camp in 1972, she set an agenda for the ethnographic study of lesbian and gay communities in North America. Mother Camp was not only the first full length monograph on homosexual communities; it was also the first to focus on a subculture within the gay community. It thus implicitly challenged the notion of "homosexuals" as a unified category and demonstrated the substantial variation existing within gay populations. Additionally, Newton brought the important work on sexuality from the 1960s sociology of deviance into anthropological conversations. Newton has been widely credited for having articulated a concept of gender as a performance. However, while her contributions to the political economies of sexuality are at least as significant, they are less often invoked. Her insights into gender as performance have been much more in tune with contemporary queer studies, but her work points to another set of issues for which there is much left to explore. One of the most striking aspects of Mother Camp is the sharp observations of how class, economic exploitation, sexual orientation, gender presentation, and anxieties about respectability were all entangled in her research population. The growing body of work that addresses the inflections of class, economics, and se