Anthro 308b/508b and WGSS 308/701b
Queer Ethnographies
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Prof. Karen Nakamura
Time: Mondays TBA

ClassesV2 Server (supplementary readings, grades, etc.)

Brief Course Description This course engages in a broad reading of classic and contemporary ethnographies of non-mainstream genders and sexualities. Our emphasis will be on understanding anthropology's contribution to and relationship with gay and lesbian studies and queer theory. Over the course of the semester, we will be reading and talking about what constitutes a queer ethnography and the history and future of an anthropology of sexuality.
Extended Course Description
Research of non-mainstream genders and sexualities in non-Western contexts has reinforced the premise that same-sex sexuality has always been a part of human variability. At the same time, this research has also served to deconstruct any simple rendition of binary sexuality (hetero vs. homosexuality) or normative genders (male:female). Using a close reading of the last thirty years of ethnographic monographs on non-normative genders and sexualities, this course analyzes anthropology's central but often rocky relationship with gay and lesbian studies and queer theory.
Our readings range from Esther Newton's (1972) classic monograph on American gay drag queens to Marcia O Allens' (2011) work on gender, race, and masculinity in contemporary Cuba. While the general emphasis is on non-American ethnographies, I have included several key exceptions to this rule.
This course is open to all students with an interest in anthropology or gender and sexuality studies.
Although it looks like we are reading a lot of books (one a week), most students have reported that the workload is about equal or less than other advanced seminars. This is because reading a book straight through is often easier than reading (and digesting) a handful of articles by different authors. The class assignments involve writing a weekly
précis of the book (and a pop quiz from time to time), but there is no final term paper or final exam.

Prerequisites and Requirements
None. Students at every level and from every discipline and major are welcome to take the course.

Grades will be composed of:
  1. Précis: 70% (undergraduates must do at least nine; graduate students must do all of them). Precis guidelines here.
  2. Pop Quizzes: 25% (every week)
  3. Attendance at at least one non-film LGBT Studies or YRIHS  event  with mini-ethnography write-up 5%

Textbooks and Course Readings
Note: Because of the number of books, I strongly encourage you to set up shared reading groups (we can organize this the first day of class or via ClassesV2). I also encourage you to buy used copies of the books through AbeBooks or Amazon (note that it can take up to 3 weeks for used books to arrive by media mail), use library copies, order copies through BorrowDirect or interlibrary loan, check the local New Haven library, etc.
Additional course materials such as articles will be distributed in class and through the ClassesV2 system.
Annual Review of Anthropology (22): 339-67. (Available on Classes V2 server)
Boellstorff, Tom (2007) "Queer Studies in the House of Anthropology."
Annual Review of Anthropology (36): 17-35.

(1990) 78 min

Selections from Goffman's
Stigma (on V2 server)

¡Venceremos?: The Erotics of Black Self-making in Cuba (2011)
  • Early monographs on human sexuality:
    • Goffman, Erving (1963). Stigma: notes on the management of spoiled identity. New York: Touchstone
    • Humphreys, Laud (1970/1975). Tearoom trade: impersonal sex in public places. New York: Aldine De Gruyter. ISBN 9780202302836.
    • Hogbin, [Herbert] Ian (1970). The Island of Menstruating Men: Religion in Wogeo, New Guinea. Scranton: Chandler.
    • Newton, Esther (1972). Mother camp: female impersonators in America.Chicago, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226577609.
    • Herdt, Gilbert (1981). Guardians of the Flutes: Idioms of Masculinity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226327495.
  • Gay and Lesbian Studies
    • Nanda, Serena (1990) Neither Man Nor Woman: The Hijras of India. Wadsworth. ISBN 0534509037.
    • Williams, Walter (1992). The Spirit and the Flesh: Sexual Diversity in American Indian Culture. Boston: Beacon.
    • Weston, Kath (1991) Families We Choose. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231110938.
    • Lancaster, Roger (1993) Life is Hard: Machismo, Danger, and the Intimacy of Power in Nicaragua. UC Press. 0520089294
  • Early Queer Ethnographies
    • Stryker, Susan (1996).Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area. Chronicle Books. ISBN 0811811875
    • Gamson, Joshua (1998). Freaks talk back: tabloid talk shows and sexual non-conformity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226280659 >
    • Kulick, Don (1998). Travesti: sex, gender, and culture among Brazilian transgendered prostitutes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226461009
  • Recent ethnographies and monographs (2000+)
    • Manalansan, M (2003) Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora. ISBN 0822332175.
    • Erzen, T. (2006). Straight to Jesus: sexual and Christian conversions in the ex-gay movement. Berkeley, University of California Press. ISBN 0520245822.
    • Sinnot, Megan (2004). Toms and Dees: Transgender Identity and Female Same Sex Relationships in Thailand. U-Hawaii Press. ISBN 0824828526.
    • Bhaskaran, S. (2004). Made in India: Decolonizations, Queer Sexualities, Trans/national Projects. New York: Palgrave.
    • Boellstorff, Tom (2005). The Gay Archipelago: Sexuality and the Nation in Indonesia. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP.
    • Boellstorff, Tom (2007). A Coincidence of Desires: Anthropology, Queer Studies, Indonesia. Durham, NC: Duke UP.
    • Valentine, D (2007) Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category. Durham: Duke University Press. ISBN 0822338696.
    • Padilla, Mark (2007) Caribbean Pleasure Industry: Tourism, Sexuality, and AIDS in the Dominican Republic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    • Wekker, G (2007) The Politics of Passion: Women's Sexual Culture in the Afro- Surinamese Diaspora. New York: Columbia University Press.
    • Karkazis, Katrina (2008) Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience. Duke University Press.
    • Gaudio, Rudolf (2009) Allah Made Us: Sexual Outlaws in an Islamic African City. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
    • Blackwood, Evelyn (2010) Falling into the Lesbi World: Desire and Difference in Indonesia. Honolulu: U-Hawaii Press.
    • Weiss, Margot (2011) Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality. Durham: Duke University Press. ISBN 9780822351597.
    • Morgensen, Scott (2011) Spaces Between Us: Queer Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Decolonialization.Minneapolis: U-Minn Press.
    • Allen, Jafari (2011). ¡Venceremos?: The Erotics of Black Self-making in Cuba. Durham: Duke University Press.
    • Moore Mignon R. (2011). Invisible Families: Gay Identities, Relationships, and Motherhood among Black Women. Berkeley: University of California Press.
    • Dave, Naisargi (2012). Queer Activism in India: A Story in the Anthropology of Ethics. Durham: Duke University Press.
    • Murray, David (2012). Flaming Souls: Homosexuality, Homophobia, and Social Change in Barbados. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 160 pp.
    • Engebretsen, Elisabeth (2013). Queer Women in Urban China. New York: Routledge.
    • Stout, Noelle (2014). After Love: Queer Intimacy and Erotic Economies in Post-Soviet Cuba. ISBN 9780822356851.
    • Ochoa, Marcia (2014). Queen for a day: Transformistas, Beauty Queens, and the Performance of Femininity in Venezuela. ISBN 9780822356264.  
  • Edited Volumes and Anthologies
    • Glave, Thomas (2008) Our Caribbean: A gathering of lesbian and gay writing from the Antilles. Duke University Press.
    • Murray, David, ed. (2009) Homophobias: Lust and loathing across time and space. Charlotte: Duke University Press.
  • Other Books
    • Feinstein, Leslie (1993). Stone Butch Blues. ISBN 9781555838539.
    • Altman, Dennis (2001). Global Sex.
    • Young, Antonia (2001), Women who become men: Albanian Sworn Virgins.
    • Reddy, Gayatri (2005). With respect to sex: Negotiating Hijra Idenitty.
    • Halberstam, Judith (1998). Female masculinity. Durham, NC ; London, Duke University Press.
  • Articles:
    • Emilio, John (1983). Sexual politics, sexual communities: the making of a homosexual minority in the United States 1940-1970. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    • Davis, D. L. and R. G. Whitten (1987). "The cross-cultural study of human sexuality." Annual Review of Anthropology 16: 69-98.
    • Weston, Kath (1993). "Lesbian/gay studies in the house of anthropology." Annual Review of Anthropology (22): 339-67.
    • Bustos-Aguilar, Pedro (1995). "Mister don't touch the banana: notes on the popularity of the ethnosexed body south of the border." Critique of Anthropology (15): 149-170.
    • Wim Lunsing (1999) - Love and Sex in Japan
    • Deborah Elliston (1995) - Erotic Anthropology
    • Dave, Naisargi (2011). Indian and lesbian and what came next: Affect, commensuration, and queer emergences. American Ethnologist Volume 38. Issue 4. November (Pages 650 - 665).
    • Geller, Pamela (2009). Bodyscapes, Biology, and Heteronormativity. AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST, Vol. 111, Issue 4, pp. 504–516. DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2009.01159.x. -- On archaeology and queer bodies
  • Annual Reviews of Anthropology
  • Films
    • Early Films
      • Paris is Burning (1990)
    • Religion and Sexuality
    • Gender Variance
Main Reading
Suggested Film
Early Monographs
Weston, Kath (1993). "Lesbian/gay studies in the house of anthropology." 
Mother Camp (1972)Paris is Burning  
Tearoom Trade (1970) 
LG and T Studies in the 1990s
Stone Butch Blues Boys Don't Cry  
Gay by the Bay 
Travesti (1998)All About My Mother (1999) 
Queen for a Day (2014) 
Queer Studies into the 21st century
Allah Made Us (2009)A Jihad for Love (2007) 
Politics of Passion (2007) 
Thanksgiving Break
Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality  
Queer Women in Urban China  
After Love 

Online Resources

Last modified: Sunday, 07-Jun-2015 14:46:01 EDT, [an error occurred while processing this directive].