Cover for LEWIN: Out in Theory: The Emergence of Lesbian and Gay Anthropology. Click for larger image

Out in Theory

The Emergence of Lesbian and Gay Anthropology
Awards and Recognition:

Winner of the Ruth Benedict Prize for an edited volume from the Society for Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists (SOLGA), 2004. A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, 2004.

A companion volume to Out in the Field, a benchmark examination of lesbian and gay experiences in anthropology, Out in Theory presents lesbian and gay anthropology as a distinct specialization and addresses the theoretical issues that define the emerging field. This compelling collection of essays details the scholarly and personal factors that affected the emergence of lesbian and gay anthropology and speculates on the directions it will take as it continues to grow and diversify. Seeking to legitimize the field's scholarship and address issues in terminology, the essays also define the lesbian and gay anthropology's scope and subject matter and locate factors that separate it from the wider concerns of the profession.

Specific essays track the emergence of lesbian and gay studies in social and cultural anthropology, linguistics, archaeology, and in various areas of anthropological activism. They also consider how feminist anthropology helped define the field and how transgendered experience, queer theory, and race and class studies are promoting new directions of inquiry within lesbian and gay anthropology.


"This volume is tailor-made for the classroom - for all kinds of classrooms, from courses on anthropology to gender studies to gay/lesbian studies. It provides a reader-friendly introduction to gay and lesbian anthropology for those who are unfamiliar with this important subdiscipline; for the cognoscenti, it is a state of the union address from two of the best-known figures in the field, Ellen Lewin and William L. Leap."--Mary Weismantel, author of Strange Intimacies


Ellen Lewin, a professor of anthropology and women's studies at the University of Iowa, is the author of Lesbian Mothers: Accounts of Gender in American Culture and Recognizing Ourselves: Ceremonies of Lesbian and Gay Commitment. She is also the coeditor of Out in the Field: Reflections of Gay and Lesbian Anthropologists. William L. Leap, a professor and chair of the anthropology department at the American University, is the author of Word's Out: Gay Men's English. He is also the coeditor of Out in the Field: Reflections of Gay and Lesbian Anthropologists. Esther Newton, a professor of anthropology and co-chair of the Lesbian and Gay Studies Program at Purchase College, SUNY, is the author of Margaret Mead Made Me Gay: Personal Essays, Public Ideas and other books.

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