AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: ESTHER NEWTON'S "GAY ENGLISH"
Author: WILLIAM LEAP (American University)   
Date/Time: Fri., 2:30 PM
Co-Author(s): WILLIAM LEAP (American University) 
Abstract: Esther Newton has an amazing ability to elicit people’s stories about themselves and equally so an ability to convey people’s stories to others. In that sense, Newton’s work in lesbian/gay history is also about language: Her writings engage the range of discursive practices (e.g. word choices, code-switching, narration, and the work of audience reception) through which speakers claim place as sexual persons at critical points in recent U.S. history. Read in these terms, Mother Camp becomes an important historical document, in that it demonstrates the presence of fully formed, “in-your-face” linguistic practices that rivaled the liberatory vision of a post-Stonewall “gay men’s English” yet were in place twenty or more years before GME took shape in the public sphere. The narratives collected for Cherry Grove, Fire Island point to a different linguistic handling of visibility and critical edge. Displayed here are more privileged forms of speaker backgrounds and the recreational rather than commercial speaking contexts, both of which gave t speakers very different reasons for encoding gender difference in linguistic practice “at the site.” In these and other ways, Newton’s work has particular relevance to current discussions in language and sexuality studies and to current interests in tracing how language and sexuality mutually engage each other in the social/historical moment.

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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