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Same-Sex Cultures and Sexualities: An Anthropological Reader

ISBN: 978-0-631-23300-8
322 pages
September 2004, Wiley-Blackwell
Same-Sex Cultures and Sexualities: An Anthropological Reader  (0631233008) cover image
This book demonstrates the centrality of sex, gender, and sexuality to theories of human behaviors and practices.

  • Moves beyond other “lesbian and gay studies” readers by presenting a broader view of the significance of studying same-sex cultures and sexualities across cultures.
  • Offers readings from all four subfields of anthropology: cultural, biological, linguistic, and archaeological (along with historical and applied anthropology).
  • Includes discussion of biotechnology and bioethics, health and illness, language, ethnicity, identity, politics, post-colonialism, kinship, development, and policymaking.
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Introduction: Sexualizing anthropology’s fields (Jennifer Robertson).

Part 1: Anthropology’s Sexual Fields.

1. “Anthropology rediscovers sexuality: A theoretical comment.” (Carole Vance).

2. “Biological determinism and homosexuality.” (Bonnie Spanier).

3. “Feminisms, queer theories, and the archaeological study of past sexualities.” (Barbara Voss).

4. “No.” (Don Kulick).

5. “Resources for lesbian ethnographic research in the lavender archives.” (Alisa Klinger).

Part 2: Problems and Propositions.

6. “Erotic anthropology: ‘ritualized homosexuality’ in Melanesia and beyond.” (Deborah Elliston).

7. “Gender, genetics, and generation: reformulating biology in lesbian kinship.” (Corinne Hayden).

8. “Transsexualism: reflections on the persistence of gender and the mutability of sex.” (Judith Shapiro).

9. “Problems encountered in writing the history of sexuality: Sources, theory and interpretation.” (Estelle B. Freedman and John D’Emilio).

Part 3: Ethics, Erotics and Exercises .

10. “Choosing the sexual orientation of children.” (Edward Stein).

11. “Yoshiya Nobuko: Out and outspoken in practice and prose.” (Jennifer Robertson).

12. “Outing as performance/outing as resistance: a queer reading of Austrian (homo)sexualities.” (Matti Bunzl).

13. “Tombois in West Sumatra: constructing masculinity and erotic desire.” (Evelyn Blackwood).

14. “Freeing South Africa: the ‘modernization’ of male-male sexuality in Soweto.” (Donald Donham).

15. “Gay organizations, NGOs, and the globalization of sexual identity: the case of Bolivia.” (Timothy Wright).

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Jennifer Robertson is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. She has published many articles and book chapters (in several languages) on a wide spectrum of subjects and is the author of Native and Newcomer: Making and Unmaking a Japanese City (1991) and Takarazuka: Sexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern Japan (2001 [1998]; Japanese translation 2000). The author’s primary area specialty is Japan however she has also worked in Sri Lanka and is presently working in Israel.
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  • Demonstrates the centrality of sex, gender, and sexuality to theories of human behaviors and practices.
  • Moves beyond other “lesbian and gay studies” readers by presenting a broader view of the significance of studying same-sex cultures and sexualities across cultures.
  • Offers readings from all four subfields of anthropology: cultural, biological, linguistic, and archaeological (along with historical and applied anthropology).
  • Includes discussion of biotechnology and bioethics, health and illness, language, ethnicity, identity, politics, post-colonialism, kinship, development, and policymaking.
See More
“It is volumes like this one that allow us to see all sorts of new connections and possibilities. The vibrant thematic coherence of these articles is intellectually exciting, and one can genuinely say that, in this volume, the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. It is a particular strength that the articles come from across the anthropological subfields.”

Margaret Conkey, University of California, Berkeley


“An exquisite collection! The ethnographic reach and theoretical sophistication of this reader ensure that it is destined to become a classic reference and an indispensable tool for teaching. In addition to its contributions to the study of same-sex cultures, it boldly articulates anthropology’s special claims and unique role in the study of human sexualities.”

Gayle Rubin, University of Michigan


“An exceptionally coherent collection, with uniformly strong contributions. Same-Sex Cultures and Sexualities is a lucid demonstration of the ways that research on same-sex sexualities has intervened in and redefined core problems and debates in anthropology and history.”

Mary Hancock, University of California, Santa Barbara

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