Cover image for Queer sites : gay urban histories since 1600
Queer sites : gay urban histories since 1600
Higgs, David, 1939-
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Routledge, 1999.
Physical Description:
214 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Added Author:

Format :


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HQ76 .Q43 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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There are areas which can be described as gay space in that they have many lesbians and gays in the population. Queerspace: A History of Urban Sexuality, edited by David Higgs, offers a history of gay space in the major cities form the early modern period to the present. The book focuses on the changing nature of queer experience in London, Amsterdam, Rio de Janiero, San Francisco, Paris, Lisbon and Moscow.
This book provides an interdisciplinary analysis of extensive source material, including diaries, poems, legal accounts and journalism. By concentrating the importance of the city and varied meeting places such as parks, river walks, bathing places, the street, bars and even churches, the contributors explore the extent to which gay space existed, the degree of social collectiveness felt by those who used this space and their individual histories.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Discussions of "gay geography" and "gay space" have recently become popular both in and out of the academy. David Bell and Gill Valentine's Mapping Desire, Aaron Betsky's Queer Space and Queers in Space, edited by Gordon Brent Ingram et al., laid the groundwork for sophisticated new discussions of sexuality, public space and privacy. Higgs's collection of seven original essays revealing the history of same-sex activity and community in Paris, Moscow, Amsterdam, Lisbon, London, Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco fills in the gaps left by the more theoretical earlier works. The contributors, all academics, draw upon the disciplines of history, sociology, urbanology, public policy, gender/sexuality studies, anthropology and sometimes even literary criticism to delineate how physical topography, economy, customs and daily life shaped and have been shaped by the presence of clearly defined and socially acknowledged same-sex populations. Most of the pieces here are engaging and provocative, if occasionally unconvincing. Ralph Trumbach's description of a sodomitic "third sex" in 18th-century London radically reinterprets familiar material and uses gender as well as sexual activity as focal points. Dan Healey's analysis of Russian drinking habits and arrests in Moscow public men's rooms in the 1940s is strikingly original. Too often, however, exacting scholarship gives way to generalizations and easy assumptions, particularly in Les Wright's delineation of San Francisco's history. While this is a serious flaw, it is offset by the fact that these essays map a mostly uncharted field of study. Illustrations. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved