AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: 'LOOK, KIDDO...': FINDING COMMUNITY IN NEWTON'S CHERRY GROVE
Author: MARY GRAY (Indiana University)   
Date/Time: Fri., 3:00 PM
Co-Author(s): MARY GRAY (Indiana University) 
Abstract: Esther Newton's "Cherry Grove, Fire Island: Sixty years in America’s first gay and lesbian town," published in 1993, brought a definitively spatial, interdisciplinary argument to the construction of community. Cherry Grove demonstrated that lesbians and gay men didn’t simply find each other to form communities but that the very conditions for community, from gender, race, and class politics to proximities to capital and urban centers, interlocked to cohere and organize the possibilities and boundaries of "community." “Cherry Grove” also modeled a publicly engaged approach to gay and lesbian studies. This paper will discuss the legacy of "Cherry Grove" as an exemplar of ethnographically grounded, interdisciplinary work that continues to feed conversations across American Studies, sociology, anthropology, and queer studies. I will look at the use of location as an analytic tool in Cherry Grove and how its arguments about location contribute to other disciplines, actively stepping out of anthropology's bounds, and inspiring my own work at the disciplinary edges of anthropology, media studies, and queer studies. I share my own experience of coming to Esther for advice about the viability of queer media studies in anthropology and why I think Esther's work has proven so threatening and therefore valuable to anthropology. I argue that Esther Newton is a double threat: she challenges the formal disciplinary boundaries that dominate the power structures of academic institutions by addressing not only multiple disciplines but also hailing outsiders to the party.

Program Number: 3-0815
Session Title: THE MOTHER (CAMP) OF US ALL: LGBT ANTHROPOLOGY HONORS ESTHER NEWTON
Session Sponsor: Association for Queer Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Fri., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): ELLEN LEWIN (University of Iowa) 
Chair(s): ELLEN LEWIN (University of Iowa)  
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