The Myth of the Modern Homosexual Queer History and the Search for Cultural Unity
- List Price: $75.00
- Binding: Hardcover
- Publisher: Continuum Intl Pub Group
- Publish date: 10/01/1997
With careful reasoning supported by wide-ranging scholarship, cultural historian Rictor Norton exposes the fallacies of "social constructionist" theories that currently dominate lesbian and gay studies, and argues the case for the autonomy of queer identities and culture. Addressing the general (queer) reader in clear jargon-free terms, the author unashamedly sites himself within the "essentialist" camp, and presents the evidence that queers are part of a centuries old history, possessing a unified historical cultural identity.
Norton reviews the fundamental historiographical issues about the nature of queer history, arguing that a new generation of queer historians will need to abandon authoritarian dogma founded upon politically correct ideology rather than historical experience. The author argues that queer culture - with its ethic customs and traditions - is the proper subject of queer history, rather than the usual emphasis upon homophobia which little more than a history of heterosexual prejudice. He examines how queer identity has been formed by a sense of historical context as well as a sense of sexual orientation, and re-evaluates the contribution made by culturally identified queers to the recovery of queer history. He offers a clear exposition of the evidence or ancient, indigenous and pre-modern queer cultural continuity, revealing how knowledge of that history has been suppressed and censored. The author sets forth the "queer cultural essentialist" position on the key topics of queer history - role, identity, bisexuality, orientation, linguistics, social control, homophobia, subcultures, kinship patterns - and redraws the battle lines for future debate.