LGBT History at Southampton
July 30, 2013
by Laurence Georgin
The annual Southampton Stonewall Lecture on 21 February 2013 was delivered by Professor George Chauncey (Yale University) on “Gay Culture in Postwar New York”.
This was a highly innovative exploration of the world of the gay male in New York’s cultural and commercial scene, explaining how men fashioned their identity in a vibrant but often hostile environment, and the codes and manoeuvres they used to avoid persecution. It was a tantalizing glimpse into Professor Chauncey’s forthcoming book on the shaping of American gay identity between 1945 and the Stonewall riots.
We had an extremely diverse audience of about 100 for the event (academic and non-academic), and a lively Q & A session ensued, chaired by Dr Kendrick Oliver. In short this fully fulfilled the Southampton Stonewall lecture’s remit of publicizing a facet of LGBT history to a public audience while promoting the university principles of equality and diversity. It is expected that next year’s lecture will be on an early modern history theme in order further to diversify the audience.
History also ran the 3rd LGBT History Workshop on 20 February, with a very varied programme of talks and some of the best discussions we have had at this annual event. This year it was truly interdisciplinary, with papers ranging from US gay poets (Peter Middleton), to homosexual Stalinist crooners (Dan Healey); from the music of the Pet Shop Boys (Eve Colpus), to an analysis of the German lesbian film ‘Aimee und Jaguar’ (Neil Gregor). A special highlight was the paper of English PhD candidate James Cole who read to us vividly from his own short story ‘Be My Lennon’. The quality of the discussion/debate owed much to those who were able to attend for the whole workshop (including the incisive commentators Joan Tumblety and Julie Gammon).