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Abstract

Recent literature on the history of sexuality in America both confirms and complicates the interpretive framework set out in Intimate Matters twenty-five years ago. New studies reveal the ways reproduction has been highly structured by race and class. Attention to racial difference and race relations has moved from a dichotomous black and white model to multi-cultural explorations. Studies of marriage law, the construction of womanhood, the use of sexual violence, and other topics all demonstrate close connections between sexuality and racial hierarchy. Work on same-sex relations has moved beyond the largest cities and has found a variety of ways in which same-sex love has expressed itself and been understood. Increasing scholarly attention, finally, has focused on the role of the state in defining and policing the boundaries of normalcy.

In preparing a new edition of our book, Intimate Matters, we had the opportunity to review the recent writing by historians on sexuality in America.1 We found that much of the new literature builds upon the interpretive framework we presented in the first edition in 1988. We argued then that over the past three centuries the dominant meaning of sexuality has expanded beyond the early American family-centered reproductive system, incorporating both romantic and intimate personal experience and commercialized exchange to create a modern path to personal identity and individual happiness. Throughout this history sexuality has served to perpetuate social hierarchies, especially those of gender, class, and race, and it has been the subject of political contestation over the regulation of private behavior. New research provides much greater geographic scope and local specificity than we could draw on twenty-five years ago. Certain contours of our framework seem even clearer, and others more complex, in light of this scholarship. While it would be impossible to survey all of the work that now addresses sexual meanings, sexual regulation, and sexual politics, several areas of research—reproduction, race, violence, same-sex relationships, and sexuality and the state—provide a useful focus for taking stock of the field.

New studies of the history of reproduction confirm much of our overview but add a great deal as well. Reproduction clearly remained central to the cultural meaning of sexuality in early America, but the scholarship [End Page 88] for this period has moved beyond the initial focus on New England and the Chesapeake and further beyond the demographics of the white family. Studies of slavery in the South and the West Indies, for example, reveal that planters understood well the financial value of slave reproduction. Indeed, as Jennifer Morgan points out, the reproductive capacity of enslaved women provided a foundation for the economic growth of the New World.2 In other ways as well, sexuality in the era of settlement represented far more than the reproductive family. In the encounter between Europeans and Natives on the colonial frontiers, sexual access to Native women played a role in conquest and in diplomatic negotiations quite apart from the goal of reproduction.3

For the late eighteenth century, local studies reinforce our view of the loosening ties between reproduction and sexuality. In such growing commercial cities as Philadelphia—the subject of an important study by Clare A. Lyons—extramarital relationships, divorce and desertion, a bawdy print culture, and prostitution all destabilized the primacy of the reproductive family. The consequences of sexuality beyond the family differed greatly for the wealthy men who frequented brothels and the increasing numbers of unwed mothers charged with bastardy. In addition, we can see more clearly how the movement of sex outside of marriage led to calls for restraint, particularly on the part of women, along with the new emphasis on middle-class female virtue and the emergence of moral reform in the next generation. Even the world of marriage in early America is coming to seem more fluid and less well-defined than it once did, as such historians as Nancy Cott have revealed the transformations in the meaning of the institution.4

In the centuries following the American Revolution, although children remained a central purpose of family formation, childbearing declined steadily among all social groups. We now know more about how the contraceptive revolution took place, including the role of entrepreneurs in moving commerce in contraceptives from the margins to the mainstream of the American economy. Studies of abortion explore the historical dynamics of criminalization and of the movement to decriminalize the practice in the twentieth century. The weakening ties between sexuality and reproduction are also evident in the late twentieth-century trend in which married couples began to reject parenthood completely, preferring to remain “child-free” to pursue individual desires. Elaine Tyler May’s study of childlessness shows that both those who employed new reproductive technologies to achieve parenthood and those who remained child-free claimed a right to fulfill their individual needs, reflecting the reach of sexual liberalism.5

At the same time, the pattern in which reproductive choice has been highly structured by class and race recurs in recent literature. White, middle-class women have been encouraged to bear children; African American, Native American, and Mexican American women and the poor generally [End Page 89] have faced greater social stigma for bearing children outside of marriage and greater risk of sterilization without informed consent.6 Some studies complicate this analysis by asking about the place of sexual regulation within American imperialism. For example, Laura Briggs raises questions about whether the United States was complicit in population control programs that deprived women of their reproductive choices and if these efforts sometimes benefited such women as those who took advantage of sterilization procedures in Puerto Rico.7 Several scholars, moreover, point to the staying power of eugenic thought into the late twentieth century, suggesting that the revelations of Nazi atrocities did not entirely diminish the appeal of this pseudoscience in the post-World War II period.8

Attention to racial difference and race relations is one of the most important ways that the history of sexuality has extended its scope. For one, new work goes beyond an initial focus on the white middle class and also moves from a dichotomous black and white model to a multicultural exploration of relations among European, Mexican, Native, Asian, and African Americans. Studies of the West by Albert L. Hurtado, Nayan Shah, and others analyze not only the sexual victimization of Native, Mexican, and Asian Americans but also the sexual subcultures that variously adapted and rejected the mores of missionaries and later white, middle-class reformers. Cultural and legal studies of Chinese and South Asian immigrants explore sexualized portrayals in the popular press and Hollywood films, but scholars also reach beyond images by employing biography and microhistory to tease out sexual agency among Asian immigrants.9

Historians have also explored further how marriage law helped enforce racial segregation by outlawing interracial unions. Although the term “miscegenation” was coined by opponents of emancipation, state laws enacted throughout the nation applied to marriages not only between whites and blacks but also between whites and Asian Americans, Native Americans, or East Indians. Indeed, as Peggy Pascoe argues persuasively, the very notion of “interracial sex” both presumed and helped create racial divisions. Defining the offspring of these unions as illegitimate, furthermore, contributed to the maintenance of white racial purity.10 During the rise of an American overseas empire, similarly, the regulation of sexuality helped to enforce racial classification. Sexual relations between colonizers and colonial women in the Philippines and elsewhere rarely challenged racial hierarchies.11 Recent studies also credit the efforts of individual couples and political organizations to protest the marital color line, particularly through challenges to laws against interracial marriage in the twentieth century. This history enriches our understanding of the modern civil rights movement.12

We are also beginning to understand far better than before how racial thought influenced gender identity throughout our history. African American [End Page 90] women, whatever their class, did not enjoy the privileges of “womanhood,” a term that connoted sexual respectability and carried a modicum of protection from insult or violence. At the turn of the twentieth century, however, middle-class black women organized to claim respectability through both religious and secular institutions. They also engaged in uplift efforts with rural and working-class African Americans, sometimes adopting the temperance and social purity critiques of the sexual double standard.13 At the time, the concept of “white manhood”—constructed in opposition to an image of sexually degenerate black men—added racial power to male gender identity. The idealization of the civilizing white man, significantly, emerged just when fears of “race suicide” placed ideological constraints on white women who increasingly ventured beyond their reproductive roles. Like black women, some black men mobilized to claim the benefits of middle-class respectability, in this case, of manhood.14

Not all African Americans aspired to white, middle-class notions of respectability. During the Great Migration, northern blacks in New York, Chicago, Detroit, and elsewhere constructed alternative sexual subcultures that tolerated, and at times celebrated, nonmarital sexuality. The feminist scholar Angela Davis and others have pointed to assertions of female sexual agency within the lyrics of the blues songs performed by black women. Scholars disagree about the import of such public expressions at a time when commercial and popular culture increasingly marketed sex. Do the sexually explicit lyrics of early blues songs represent a positive claiming of female sexual desire, or do they reinforce stereotypical views of black female hypersexuality? Was the practice of “slumming,” when white middle-class or bohemian couples visited black or gay nightclubs, similarly, a form of sexual objectification of exotic others or a source of intercultural communication? Rather than accepting a dichotomy between white and black sexual values, scholars now point to the ways that African Americans who engaged in the sexualized urban culture of the early twentieth century constructed their own definitions of respectability. For example, even women whose economic needs led them to engage in sexual commerce navigated between earlier familial and modern sexual values.15 Studies of sexual violence provide further evidence that sexuality has played a major role in sustaining racial hierarchies. A number of scholars have elaborated on the ways that a moral panic over black men as sexual threats to southern white women contributed to maintaining white supremacy after Emancipation. Some historians emphasize the early American origins of the myth of the black rapist while others argue that only after the enfranchisement of African American men did the racialization of rape escalate into a violent era of lynchings. In the process, Martha Hodes explains, interracial sexual unions that had once been tolerated in the South were redefined as rape. The protection of white [End Page 91] purity now extended to poor, as well as elite, southern women, although a woman’s class background and sexual reputation could still influence the outcome of an interracial rape case.16 New research by Hannah Rosen and others has also deepened our understanding of how the rape of black women reinforced the subordination of African Americans during and after slavery, as well as provided insight into the origins of protest against the impunity with which white men assaulted black women. Pent-up anger about the sexual abuse of black women, as Danielle McGuire shows, helped to fuel the modern civil rights movement after World War II.17

Several scholars of violence have also called attention to the subjects of incest and child abuse, illustrating how age represents another power dynamic enforced through sexual violence. Close readings of the medical, psychological, and literary accounts of sexual relationships within families help explain how and why the subject of child abuse remained shrouded in silence for so long and then emerged as a concern in post-World War II American culture.18 Stephen Robertson’s discussion of the increasing attention to boys, as well as girls, as victims of sexual violence at the beginning of the twentieth century provides an important context for the moral panics over the psychopath, which erupted after 1930. The new scholarship on children also contributes to understanding the modern stigmatization of homosexuality through its association with child abuse.19

An explosion of interest in the history of same-sex relationships has greatly enhanced our understanding of the emergence of the modern identity categories of homosexuality and heterosexuality. Historians link this process in part to the tightening of both gender and racial lines in the early twentieth century. Hierarchies of normalcy, infused with scientific language, justified both racial segregation and the marginalization of women and men who did not conform to ideals of masculinity and femininity.20 The gender story, which has attracted the bulk of scholarly attention, unfolds more gradually and less violently than the establishment of Jim Crow, but both illustrate how sexual politics intensify when social boundaries of race or gender threaten to become more porous.

Even after the identification of homosexuality within late nineteenth-century medical literature, it is now clear that well into the early twentieth century an older, largely working-class sexual system allowed single or married men to engage in a range of sexual relations, with women or with men, and without considering themselves homosexuals. In some immigrant communities that experienced skewed gender ratios, men established households together without adopting homosexual identity. As George Chauncey has shown, in other groups immigrant, working-class men’s gender identity was not in doubt as long as they maintained masculine status by being the active partner in sexual encounters with a presumably [End Page 92] passive, “effeminate” man. Same-sex relationships, similarly, did not lead to homosexual identity in western mining camps in the nineteenth century nor among prisoners who had sex with other men in the early twentieth century.21 For women, same-sex friendship and love became more suspect in the early twentieth century, but lesbianism continued to be linked to signs of gender “inversion” such as masculine appearance. A woman who appeared too masculine, especially an African American woman, risked being labeled a lesbian, while feminine women who had same-sex relationships were not necessarily considered deviant.22

A crisis in middle-class male gender identity helped destabilize this fluidity in sexual identities. In part a product of men’s narrowing economic opportunities and women’s encroachments on the public sphere, the fear of “feminization” encouraged middle-class men to define themselves in opposition to women. Some scholars have interpreted the so-called sexual revolution of the 1920s as more of a heterosexual counterrevolution infused with assertions of male sexual values. The middle-class masculinity crisis, with its emphasis on heterosexuality as a marker of gender identity, also contributed to the popularization of the newly invented medical categories of “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality.”23 By the 1930s, and particularly in urban America, a new concept of “masculinity” became identified with male-female sexual relations, and earlier tolerance for men who had sex with other men gave way to greater contempt for them as “sissies.” Men who engaged in same-sex relations increasingly were considered unmanly, homosexual, and at risk of being labeled pathological. This shift resulted in the elaboration of the homosexual “closet” and of distinct gay subcultures hidden from public view.24

These subcultures, and the subsequent visible gay communities of the late twentieth century, have attracted widespread historical inquiry. The scope of lesbian and gay history has expanded geographically beyond New York City to include community studies of San Francisco; Los Angeles; Chicago; Detroit; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Provincetown, Massachusetts; and the rural South.25 In large part these histories confirm the trajectory of both police crackdowns and gay and lesbian politicization after World War II. At the same time, distinctive local stories reveal the role of bohemians, anarchists, transgender individuals, and the African American civil rights movement in the emergence of modern sexual politics. New studies of transgender history help complicate the relationships among gender, sexuality, and identity. Joanne Meyerowitz, for example, traced the gradual intellectual disentanglement of biological sex and gender identity, as well as the emergence of unique categories of homosexual and transgender identity, during the last half of the twentieth century.26 [End Page 93]

Within and beyond the study of gay history, the role of the state in policing the boundaries of sexual normality has become much clearer. Scholars of federal immigration policy note how gatekeeping at the nation’s borders excluded those considered sexually undesirable, including potential prostitutes or homosexuals. In addition, military policies, welfare requirements, and federal hiring bans allowed the national state to play an important role in the construction of the binary categories of homosexual and heterosexual, creating what Margot Canaday refers to as a “stratified citizenry.” Throughout the twentieth century, state and federal courts upheld this sexual stratification.27

In addition, at both municipal and state levels, governments attempted to regulate sexuality during the first half of the twentieth century. Many cities had initiated anti-vice campaigns aimed at prostitution before World War I, and laws regulating hotels and liquor licenses attempted to limit the geographic scope of sexual commerce. In subsequent decades reformers also lobbied to enforce limitations on public expressions of sexuality in film or on stage. Andrea Friedman has shown how New Yorkers enacted both the municipal licensing of theaters and state obscenity statutes to enforce the censorship of plays, books, and films. That local and state governments also intervened to channel sex education into “family values education” suggests that not only Victorians but also modern Americans sought to regulate the expanding discourse on sexuality. Indeed, battles over state-sanctioned sex education helped mobilize the grassroots conservative movement in the 1960s and 1970s.28

The recent history of the politicization of sexuality and the role of the state—in controversies over abortion, sex education, and same-sex marriage—will no doubt inspire new historical studies in the coming years.29 Scholars, usefully, could turn as well to further explorations of the role of spirituality and organized religion in the sexual history of America, a subject that remains understudied despite the continuing power of religious values to shape both sexual meanings and political contests over sexuality.30 Further areas ripe for investigation include sexual and sexualized labor, including not only prostitution but also job categories that fall under the rubric of “queer work”—gender-crossing roles that included Chinese male launderers and both black and white maritime cooks.31

Whatever the new directions of research, we feel confident that our critique of a linear model of historical progress from repression toward sexual liberation will be sustained. The history of sexuality in the United States has been, and no doubt will continue to be, characterized by a tangle of power relations that constantly reconstruct sexual norms. Understanding the historical sources of these intimate matters remains a critical task for scholars, policy makers, and all those concerned with the politics of personal life. [End Page 94]

John D’Emilio

John D’Emilio is a professor of gender & women’s studies and history at the University of Illinois Chicago. A pioneer in the field of LGBT studies and the history of sexuality, he is the author or editor of several books including Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940–1970 (University of Chicago Press, 1980; Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin (The Free Press, 2003); The World Turned: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and Culture (Duke University Press, 2002); and Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, co-authored with Estelle B. Freedman and now in its third edition (New York: Harper-Collins, 1988; University of Chicago Press, 1997, 2012). His awards include the Brudner Prize from Yale University for lifetime contributions to gay and lesbian studies; the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Publishing Triangle; and the Roy Rosenzweig Distinguished Service Award of the Organization of American Historians.

Estelle B. Freedman

Estelle B. Freedman is the Edgar E. Robinson Professor in U.S. History at Stanford University, where she co-founded the undergraduate program in Feminist Studies. The recipient of multiple teaching awards and research fellowships, she is the author two prize-winning books on the history of women’s prison reform, Their Sisters’ Keepers (The University of Michigan Press, 1981) and Maternal Justice (University of Chicago Press, 1996). She has also written No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women (Ballantine Books, 2002) and edited The Essential Feminist Reader (Modern Library, 2007). With John D’Emilio she has written Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (3d ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012) and edited “My Desire for History”: Essays on Gay, Community, and Labor History by Allan Bérubé (University Of North Carolina Press, 2011). Her most recent book is Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation (2013).

Notes

1. John D’Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (New York: Harper and Row, 1988; 3rd edition Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012). This article is adapted from the Afterword to the third edition.

2. Jennifer L. Morgan, Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004).

3. Antonia Castañeda, “Sexual Violence in the Politics and Policies of Conquest: Amerindian Women and the Spanish Conquest of Alta California,” in Building with Our Hands: New Directions in Chicana Studies, ed. Adela de la Torre and Beatríz M. Pesquera (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 15–33; Stephanie Wood, “Sexual Violation in the Conquest of the Americas,” in Sex and Sexuality in Early America, ed. Merril D. Smith (New York: New York University Press, 1998), 9–34; and Alice Nash, “‘None of the Women Were Abused’: Indigenous Contexts for the Treatment of Women Captives in the Northeast,” in Sex and Sexuality in Early America, 10–26.

4. Clare A. Lyons, Sex among the Rabble: An Intimate History of Gender and Power in the Age of Revolution, Philadelphia, 1730–1830 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006). See also Thomas Foster, Sex and the Eighteenth-Century Man: Massachusetts and the History of Sexuality in America (Boston: Beacon Press, 2007); and Richard Godbeer, Sexual Revolution in Early America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002). On marriage see Nancy Cott, Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002); and Mary Beth Sievens, Stray Wives: Marital Conflict In Early National New England (New York: New York University Press, 2005).

5. Andrea Tone, Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America (New York: Hill and Wang, 2001); Leslie J. Reagan, When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867–1973 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997); Elaine Tyler May, Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness (New York: Basic Books, 1995). On birth control, see also Ellen Chesler, Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992); Carol McCann, Birth Control Politics in the United States, 1916–1945 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994); Janet Brodie, Contraception and Abortion in Nineteenth-Century America (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994); and Elaine Tyler May, America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation (New York: Basic Books, 2010). On the growing importance of romantic intimacy within marital relations, see Karen Lystra, Searching the Heart: Women, Men, and Romantic Love in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989); and Steven Seidman, Romantic Longings: Love in America, 1830–1980 (New York: Routledge, 1991). On the separation of sexuality and marriage see Elizabeth H. Pleck, Not Just Roommates: Cohabitation after the Sexual Revolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012).

6. May, Barren in the Promised Land; Rickie Solinger, Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race before Roe v. Wade (New York: Routledge, 1992); Johanna Schoen, Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005); and Elena Gutierrez, Fertile Matters: The Politics of Mexican Origin Women’s Reproduction (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008). [End Page 95]

7. Laura Briggs, Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science, and U.S. Imperialism In Puerto Rico (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002).

8. Wendy Kline, Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics From the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001); Alexandra Stern, Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005); Nancy Ordover, American Eugenics: Race, Queer Anatomy, and the Science of Nationalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003); and Pippa Holloway, Sexuality, Politics, and Social Control in Virginia, 1920–1945 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006).

9. Albert L. Hurtado, Intimate Frontiers: Sex, Gender, and Culture in Old California (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1999); Peggy Pascoe, Relations of Rescue: The Search for Female Moral Authority in the American West, 1874–1939 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990); Vicki Ruiz, “Dead Ends or Gold Mines?: Using Missionary Records in Mexican-American Women’s History,” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 12, no. 1 (1991): 33–56; Nayan Shah, “Between ‘Oriental Depravity’ and ‘Natural Degenerates’: Spatial Borderlands and the Making of Ordinary Americans,” American Quarterly 57, no. 3 (2005): 703–25; Nayan Shah, Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001); Victor Jew, “‘Chinese Demons’: The Violent Articulation of Chinese Otherness and Interracial Sexuality in the Midwest, 1885–1889,” Journal of Social History 37, no. 2 (2003): 389–410; Mary Ting Yi Lui, The Chinatown Trunk Mystery: Murder, Miscegenation, and Other Dangerous Encounters in Turn-of-the Century New York City (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005); and Pablo Mitchell, West of Sex: Making Mexican America, 1900–1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012).

10. Peggy Pascoe, What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009); Ariela Gross, What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race On Trial In America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008); Nancy Cott, Public Vows; Martha Hodes, White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century South (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997); and Laura F. Edwards, Gendered Strife and Confusion: The Political Culture of Reconstruction (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997).

11. See, for example, Ann Laura Stoler, “Tense and Tender Ties: The Politics of Comparison in North American History and (Post) Colonial Studies,” Journal of American History 88, no. 3 (2001): 829–65.

12. Joshua D. Rothman, Notorious in the Neighborhood: Sex and Families across the Color Line in Virginia, 1787–1861 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003); Pascoe, What Comes Naturally; and Renee C. Romano, Race Mixing: Black-White Marriage in Postwar America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003).

13. See for example Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880–1920 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993); Glenda Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896–1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996); Leslie K. Dunlap, “The Reform of Rape Law and the Problem of White Men: Age-of-Consent Campaigns in the South, 1885–1910,” in Sex, Love, Race, 352–72; and Michele Mitchell, Righteous Propagation: African Americans and the [End Page 96] Politics of Racial Destiny after Reconstruction (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2004).

14. Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1880–1917 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995); and Martin Summers, Manliness and Its Discontents: The Black Middle Class and the Transformation of Masculinity, 1900–1930 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004).

15. Kevin Mumford, Interzones: Black/White Sex Districts in Chicago and New York in the Early Twentieth Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997); Angela Y. Davis, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998); Chad Heap, Slumming: Sexual and Racial Encounters in American Nightlife, 1885–1940 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009); Victoria W. Wolcott, Remaking Respectability: African American Women in Interwar Detroit (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001); Erin D. Chapman, Prove It on Me: New Negroes, Sex, and Popular Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012); Cheryl D. Hicks, Talk with You Like a Woman: African American Women, Justice, and Reform in New York, 1890–1935 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010); and Cynthia M. Blair, I’ve Got to Make My Livin’: Black Women’s Sex Work in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010).

16. Robyn Wiegman, “The Anatomy of Lynching,” in American Sexual Politics, 223–45; Sharon Block, Rape and Sexual Power in Early America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006); Foster, Sex and the Eighteenth-Century Man; Diane Miller Sommerville, Rape and Race in the Nineteenth-Century South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004); Peter W. Bardaglio, “Rape and the Law in the Old South: ‘Calculated to Excite Indignation in Every Heart,’” Journal of Southern History 60, no. 4 (1994): 749–72; Martha Hodes, White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century South (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997); and Lisa Lindquist Dorr, White Women, Rape, and the Power of Race in Virginia, 1900–1960 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004). On class, ethnicity, and rape, see also Nancy MacLean, “The Leo Frank Case Reconsidered: Gender and Sexual Politics in the Making of Reactionary Populism,” Journal of American History 78, no. 3 (December 1991): 917–48.

17. Hannah Rosen, Terror in the Heart of Freedom: Citizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Post-Emancipation South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009); Crystal N. Feimster, Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009); Danielle L. McGuire, At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance: A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010); Nell Irvin Painter, “‘Social Equality’ and ‘Rape’ in the Fin-de-Siècle South,” in Southern History Across the Color Line: Essays (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002), 112–33; Thelma Jennings, “‘Us Colored Women Had to Go Through A Plenty’: Sexual Exploitation of African-American Slave Women,” Journal of Women’s History 1, no. 3 (1990): 45–74; and Catherine Clinton, “Bloody Terrain: Freedwomen, Sexuality and Violence during Reconstruction,” in Half Sisters of History: Southern Women and the American Past (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994), 136–53. On the difficulty of studying sexual costs, see Darlene [End Page 97] Clark Hine, “Rape and the Inner Lives of Black Women in the Middle West: Preliminary Thoughts on the Culture of Dissemblance,” Signs 14 (Summer 1989): 912–20.

18. Lynn Sacco, Unspeakable: Father-Daughter Incest in American History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009); and Rachel Devlin, Relative Intimacy: Fathers, Adolescent Daughters, and Postwar American Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005). See also Estelle B. Freedman, “‘Crimes Which Startle and Horrify…’: Gender, Age, and the Racialization of Sexual Violence in White American Newspapers, 1870–1900,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 20, no 3 (September 2011): 465–497.

19. Stephen Robertson, Crimes Against Children: Sexual Violence and Legal Culture in New York City, 1880–1960 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005); William N. Eskridge, Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws In America, 1861–2003 (New York: Viking, 2008); Philip Jenkins, Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996); Peter Boag, Same-Sex Affairs: Constructing and Controlling Homosexuality in the Pacific Northwest (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); Elise Chenier, Strangers in Our Midst: Sexual Deviancy in Postwar Ontario (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008); and Don Romesburg, “‘Wouldn’t a Boy Do?’ Placing Early-Twentieth-Century Male Youth Sex Work into Histories of Sexuality,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 18, no. 3 (September 2009): 367–92. On adolescent female sexuality, see also Susan K. Cahn, Sexual Reckonings: Southern Girls in a Troubling Age (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007).

20. Siobhan B. Somerville, Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000); Lisa Duggan, Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence, and American Modernity (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000); Jennifer Terry, An American Obsession: Science, Medicine, and Homosexuality in Modern Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); and Julian B. Carter, The Heart of Whiteness: Normal Sexuality and Race in America, 1880–1940 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007).

21. George Chauncey, Jr., Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890–1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994); Susan L. Johnson, Roaring Camp: the Social World of the California Gold Rush (New York: W. W. Norton, 2000); Regina G. Kunzel, Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008); Shah, Contagious Divides; and John Howard, Men Like That: A Southern Queer History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999). In contrast to the emphasis on fluidity in the twentieth century, some early Americanists point toward signs of sexual identity in the late eighteenth century; see Foster, Sex and the Eighteenth-Century Man.

22. Lillian Faderman, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991); Madeline Davis and Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy, Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community (New York: Routledge, 1993); Susan K. Cahn, Coming on Strong: Gender and Sexuality in Twentieth-Century Women’s Sport (New York: Free Press, 1994); Estelle B. Freedman, “The Prison Lesbian: Race, Class, and the Construction of the Aggressive Female Homosexual, 1915–1965,” Feminist Studies 22, no. 2 (Summer 1996): 397–423; and Joanne Meyerowitz, Women Adrift: Independent Wage-Earners in Chicago, 1880–1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988). For an overview [End Page 98] see Leila J. Rupp, Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between Women (New York: New York University Press, 2009); and Leila J. Rupp, A Desired Past: a Short History of Same-Sex Love in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).

23. Christina Simmons, Making Marriage Modern: Women’s Sexuality from the Progressive Era to World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009); Chauncey, Gay New York; Jonathan Ned Katz, The Invention of Heterosexuality (New York: Dutton, 1995); and Anthony Rotundo, American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolution to the Modern Era (New York: Basic Books, 1993).

24. Chauncey, Gay New York; Peter Boag, Same-Sex Affairs: Constructing and Controlling Homosexuality in the Pacific Northwest (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); Kunzel, Criminal Intimacy.

25. Nan Alamilla Boyd, Wide-Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); Martin Meeker; Contacts Desired: Gay and Lesbian Communications and Community, 1940s–1970s (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006); Daniel Hurewitz, Bohemian Los Angeles and the Making of Modern Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007); Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons, Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians (New York: Basic Books, 2006); Brett Beemyn, “Gay Men and the Rural South: No Contradiction in Terms,” American Quarterly 53, no. 1 (March 2001): 178–84; Marc Stein, City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves: Lesbian and Gay Philadelphia, 1945–1972 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000); Karen C. Krahulik, Provincetown: From Pilgrim Landing to Gay Resort (New York: New York University Press, 2005); Howard, Men Like That; and Brett Beemyn, ed., Creating a Place for Ourselves: Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community Histories (New York: Routledge, 1997). For more on queer history, see Leila Rupp, “What’s Queer Got To Do With It?,” Reviews in American History 38, no. 2 (June 2010): 189–98.

26. Hurewitz, Bohemian Los Angeles; Boyd, Wide-Open Town; Terence S. Kissack, Free Comrades: Anarchism and Homosexuality in the United States, 1895–1917 (Edinburgh: AK Press, 2008); Howard, Men Like That; Meeker, Contacts Desired; Marcia M. Gallo, Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2006); Joanne J. Meyerowitz, How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002); Susan Stryker, Transgender History (Berkeley: Seal Press, 2008); and Elizabeth Reis, “Teaching Transgender History, Identity, and Politics,” Radical History Review 88 (Winter 2004): 166–77. See also Elizabeth Reis, Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009).

27. Martha Mabie Gardner, The Qualities of a Citizen: Women, Immigration, and Citizenship In the United States, 1870–1965 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005); Allan Bérubé, Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II (New York: Free Press, 1990); Margot Canaday, The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009); David K. Johnson, The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004); and Marc Stein, Sexual Injustice: Supreme Court Decisions from Griswold to Roe (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010). [End Page 99]

28. Leigh Ann Wheeler, Against Obscenity: Reform and the Politics of Womanhood in America, 1873–1935 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004); Elizabeth Alice Clement, Love for Sale: Courting, Treating, and Prostitution in New York City, 1900–1945 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006); Andrea Friedman, Prurient Interests: Gender, Democracy, and Obscenity in New York City, 1909–1945 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000); and Pippa Holloway, Sexuality, Politics, and Social Control in Virginia, 1920–1945. On nineteenth-century censorship see Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, Rereading Sex: Battles Over Sexual Knowledge and Suppression in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002). On twentieth-century sex education see Jeffrey Moran, Teaching Sex: The Shaping of Adolescence in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000); Janice Irvine Talk about Sex: The Battles over Sex Education in the United States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002); Kristen Luker, When Sex Goes to School: Warring Views on Sex—and Sex Education—since the 60s (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2006); Susan Kathleen Freeman, Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008); and Natalia Mehlman-Petrzela, “‘Sex Ed and … The Reds?’ Reconsidering the Anaheim Battle over Sex Education, 1962–1969,” History of Education Quarterly 47, no. 2 (May 2007): 203–32.

29. Rickie Solinger, Pregnancy and Power: A Short History of Reproductive Politics in America (New York: New York University Press, 2005); Rickie Solinger, Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare In the United States (New York: Hill and Wang, 2001); Rickie Solinger, The Abortionist: A Woman Against the Law (New York: Free Press, 1994); Kristen Luker, Dubious Conceptions: the Politics of Teenage Pregnancy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996); and George Chauncey, Why Marriage?: The History Shaping Today’s Debate Over Gay Equality (Cambridge, MA: Basic Books, 2004). On limiting state regulation of sexuality see Leigh Ann Wheeler, How Sex Became a Civil Liberty (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).

30. For example, D. Michael Quinn, Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-century Americans: A Mormon Example (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996); and on religion, the right, and politics, Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001).

31. Allan Bérubé, “‘Queer Work’ and Labor History,” in My Desire for History: Essays in Gay, Community, and Labor History, ed. John D’Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011), 259–69. [End Page 100]

Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2036
Print ISSN
1042-7961
Pages
88-100
Launched on MUSE
2013-12-18
Open Access
No
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