Encyclopedia of Lesbian Histories and Cultures Ebook

Posted October 25th, 2010 at 7:12 pm

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.

Encyclopedia of Lesbian Histories and Cultures

Encyclopedia of Lesbian Histories and Cultures

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.

Encyclopedia of Lesbian Histories and Cultures

Publisher: Routledge | ISBN: 0815319207 | edition 1999 | PDF | 919 pages | 17,3 mb



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