The Routledge History of Queer America” edited by Don Romesburg— A Comprehensive Synthesis

Romesburg, Don, editor. “The Routledge History of Queer America”, Routledge, 2018.

A Comprehensive Synthesis

Amos Lassen

It seems that every year we get a new “comprehensive” gay history and each claims to be what the others are not. Such is what living in the free world allows. But then the same is true for any history—there are always newer and more comprehensive being written every year. So what makes “The Routledge History of Queer America” special? It gives us the first comprehensive synthesis of the rapidly developing field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer US history. Featuring nearly thirty chapters, each by a different writer, on essential subjects and themes from colonial times through the present, this collection covers such topics as:

  • Rural vs. urban queer histories
  • Gender and sexual diversity in early American history
  • Intersectionality, exploring queerness in association with issues of race and class
  • Queerness and American capitalism
  • The rise of queer histories, archives, and collective memory
  • Transnationalism and queer history

The history is a coming together of authorities in the field who define the ways in which sexual and gender diversity have contributed to the dynamics of American society, culture and nation making “The Routledge History of Queer America” an excellent overview of the history of the queer experience in US history. Here is a look at Table of Contents:

Introduction: Having a Moment Four Decades in the Making

Don Romesburg


Times1 Colonial North America (1600s–1700s)

Richard Godbeer

2 Revolutionary Sexualities and Early National Genders (1770s–1840s)

Rachel Hope Cleves

3 Centering Slavery in Nineteenth-Century Queer History (1800s–1890s)

Clare Sears

4 Modern Sexuality in Modern Times (1880s–1930s)

Elizabeth Clement and Beans Velocci

5 Sexual Minorities at the Apex of Heteronormativity (1940s–1965)

Amanda H. Littauer

6 Gay Liberation (1963–1980)

Whitney Strub

7 AIDS and Action (1980–1990s)

Jennifer Brier

8 Queer Politics in Neoliberal Times (1970–2010s)

Margot Weiss


Spaces and Places

9 Queer Archives: From Collections to Conceptual Framework

Kate Eichhorn

10 Bodies

avid Serlin

11 Organizations

Marcia M. Gallo

12 The End of Urban Queer History?

Kwame Holmes

13 Rural

Pippa Holloway and Elizabeth Catte

14 Queer and Nation

Eithne Luibhéid

15 Thinking Transnationally, Thinking Queer

Emily K. Hobson



16 Language, Acts, and Identity in LGBT History

Jen Manion

17 Transgender History (and Otherwise Approaches to Queer Embodiment)

Finn Enke

18 Lesbian History: Spirals of Imagination, Marginalization, and Creation

Julie R. Enszer

19 Bisexual History: Let’s Not Bijack Another Century

Loraine Hutchins

20 Queer of Color Estrangement and Belonging

Nayan Shah

21 Families

Daniel Rivers

22 Sickness and Wellness

Katie Batza

23 Criminalization and Legalization

Andrea J. Ritchie and Kay Whitlock

24 Law and Politics: “Crooked and Perverse” Narratives of LGBT Progress

Marc Stein

25 Labor

Sara R. Smith-Silverman

26 Consumerism

Stephen Vider

27 Queer Performance and Popular Culture

Sharon Ullman

28 Public History and Queer Memory

Lara Kelland

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