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The Un-Natural State is a one-of-a-kind study of gay and lesbian life in Arkansas in the twentieth century, a deft weaving together of Arkansas history, dozens of oral histories, and Brock Thompson’s own story. Thompson analyzes the meaning of rural drag shows, including a compelling description of a 1930s seasonal beauty pageant in Wilson, Arkansas, where white men in drag shared the stage with other white men in blackface, a suggestive mingling that went to the core of both racial transgression and sexual disobedience. These small town entertainments put on in churches and schools emerged decades later in gay bars across the state as a lucrative business practice and a larger means of community expression, while in the same period the state’s sodomy law was rewritten to condemn sexual acts between those of the same sex in language similar to what was once used to denounce interracial sex. Thompson goes on to describe several lesbian communities established in the Ozark Mountains during the sixties and seventies and offers a substantial account of Eureka Springs’s informal status as the “gay capital of the Ozarks.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Front Matter
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  1. CONTENTS
  2. p. vii
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  1. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  2. pp. ix-xi
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  1. INTRODUCTION. Outing Opal, Outing Arkansas
  2. pp. 3-13
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  1. PART ONE. The Diamond State
  2. p. 15
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  1. ONE. Powder-Puff
  2. pp. 17-18
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  1. TWO. Drag and the Politics of Performance
  2. pp. 19-41
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  1. THREE. Drag in the Daylight
  2. pp. 43-50
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  1. FOUR. Rags to Drag Riches
  2. pp. 51-62
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  1. FIVE. The Current Reigning Symbol of Excellence
  2. pp. 63-71
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  1. PART TWO. The Natural State
  2. p. 73
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  1. SIX. A Crime Unfit to Be Named
  2. pp. 75-82
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  1. SEVEN. The Ingredients of Offense
  2. pp. 83-88
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  1. EIGHT. Race, Sex, and Queer Renegotiated
  2. pp. 89-93
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  1. NINE. Redefinition
  2. pp. 95-108
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  1. TEN. Public and Private Prejudice
  2. pp. 109-120
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  1. ELEVEN. Constructing a Gay Life
  2. pp. 121-127
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  1. PART THREE. The Land of Opportunity
  2. p. 129
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  1. TWELVE. Creating Space, Separating the Self
  2. pp. 131-136
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  1. THIRTEEN. Losing Space, Separating Identities
  2. pp. 137-156
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  1. FOURTEEN. The Mansion on the Hill
  2. pp. 157-165
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  1. FIFTEEN. Economic Opportunity and the Queer Community
  2. pp. 167-176
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  1. SIXTEEN. And Then She Came
  2. pp. 177-181
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  1. EPILOGUE. Queer Comes Home
  2. pp. 183-190
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  1. NOTES
  2. pp. 191-224
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  1. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
  2. pp. 225-238
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  1. INDEX
  2. pp. 239-247
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  1. Back Matter
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781610754439
Related ISBN
9781557289438
MARC Record
OCLC
761165284
Pages
275
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-16
Language
English
Open Access
No
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