Cover image for Gay histories and cultures : an encyclopedia
Gay histories and cultures : an encyclopedia
Haggerty, George E.
Publication Information:
New York : Garland, 2000.
Physical Description:
xlvii, 986 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ75.13 .G37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



First Published in 2000. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Author Notes

George E. Haggerty is professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, and was founder and co-chair of the program in Gay, California, Berkeley, and is author of several books, including Men in Love: Masculinity and Sexuality in the Eighteenth Century (1999).

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Here is proof positive that mainstream reference publishing increasingly recognizes the evolution of gay and lesbian studies. Thumbs up to Haggerty and Zimmerman this title (The Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures) in two volumes is undoubtedly the first relatively thorough reference work that attempts to survey the complex histories and wide cultural diversity of lesbian and gay life. In their introductions, the editors explain why they have chosen to develop separate volumes, edited independently. For this review, the Board has chosen to focus on the work as a whole, rather than on the volumes as separates. The Board feels this reflects the spirit and intent of the work. The editors note that the encyclopedia is not intended to be "truly comprehensive." They have not surveyed every historical period and every region of the world or treated every individual whose life involved same-sex relationships. Only individuals who were the first in their fields or who already have had unquestionable influence and notoriety are included. Each volume consists of alphabetically arranged, signed entries. Each entry is followed by a list of cross-references and includes a bibliography with the most important and easily accessible titles. Subject guides and an index facilitate access. An exceptional group of authors has contributed entries to these volumes, as is evidenced by the treatment of topics. Overall, a broad range of subjects is covered, and readers will find both similarities and differences in the selection and treatment of issues in the two volumes. The editors assert that having separate volumes ensures that lesbian and gay histories and cultures receive full and unbiased attention. However, this two-volume strategy is only partially successful. At times, readers may find the differences in the range of subjects covered in the two volumes to be either perplexing or out-and-out frustrating. For example, those seeking full treatment of a general subject such as psychology, or a more specific topic such as psychological and psychoanalytical perspectives on lesbianism and homosexuality, will need to read entries in both volumes. It is difficult to use the two volumes together, however, because they are not linked by their subject guides, cross-references, or indexes. The subject guides in particular can be confusing: the entry Body image is listed under the heading psychology in Lesbian Histories, but under anthropology in Gay Histories. In some cases, an issue covered in one volume is not treated in the other, necessitating further research elsewhere. These differences can be misleading. Does the fact that only Lesbian Histories has an entry for Relationship violence mean this is no longer a phenomenon or component of gay male culture? Overall, however, the volumes succeed in complementing one another and in beginning to fill a growing need for extended treatment of issues relevant to the histories and cultures of lesbians and gay men. This encyclopedia promises to be of interest to a wide audience, including students and scholars in all fields and the general public who are interested in the state of lesbian and gay research. Noted shortcomings aside, reference librarians in academic and medium-sized and large public libraries will want to add both volumes to their collections.

Library Journal Review

Zimmerman (women's studies, San Diego State Univ.) and Haggerty (English, Univ. of California, Riverside) have compiled two impressive volumes on gay and lesbian history and culture. The signed articles range from half a page to about six pages and provide at least a minimal bibliography and cross references. There are entries on narrow topics that one would expect, such as Stonewall and Daughters of Bilitis, as well as biographies of both historical and contemporary figures. Unexpected broader topics, such as gentrification and social work, are also featured because they have played a role in gay or lesbian culture and history. Some people and events are hidden within these broader articles, but each volume has a lengthy index. The earlier Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, edited by Wayne Dynes (LJ 1/90), was criticized for not addressing lesbian history adequately, and Zimmerman and Haggerty state that they chose to produce two separate volumes to ensure "that both histories receive full and unbiased attention." Users, however, would have been better served by a single alphabetical arrangement or, at least, a shared index. One who knows nothing about the Mattachine Society, for example, would be forced to check both volumes before finding the relevant information. The editors acknowledge making different choices about content and emphasis, and there is some inconsistency. Thus, there is an entry for contemporary mystery writer Michael Nava but none for Sandra Scoppettone or Katherine Forrest. Overall, however, these are fine scholarly works that belong in the reference section of every library.DDebra Moore, Loyola Marymount Univ., Los Angeles (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

If the companion encyclopedia on lesbians is half so good as this one on gay men, then students and beginning researchers will have a wonderful new source. The articles are both thorough and concise. Bibliographies and cross-references are attached to each entry. As with any volume of contributed entries, there are some inconsistencies in presentation, but the editor has skillfully kept these to a minimum. There are a number of problems: some bibliographic entries cite works that will be difficult to locate, particularly those not in English; the lack of an index inhibits use; although scholars from 26 countries contribute, over 75 percent are US-based, and of the remainder, half come from Australia, Canada, or Britain; more illustrations are needed; and some omissions are surprising ("Village People," muscle magazines, pornography). A great beginning, recommended for all general reference collections. ; University of North Texas