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Is the study of history concerned with discussing concepts, and only secondarily the people who embody them? Or is it the study of people and their institutions, with ideas and theories emerging secondarily from those lives? Both approaches have their value. They answer different questions. In this very brief essay, Boyd stakes a claim for studying ideas and then relating people's lives to those ideas. And from the point of view of "does it make sense to study the history of the idea of lesbianism?" I'm not going to argue against that approach.

Certain cycles of thought around gender and sexuality seem to recur across history, and different themes sometimes recur in conjunction. Binhammer's study of early feminist thought of the 1790s -- the era of Wolstonecraft's A VIndication of the Rights of Women among other texts -- addressed the question of women's sexuality, and how it seemed to parallel some of the feminist "sex wars" of the later 20th century in fascinating ways.

Vicinus points out (or at least implies) a contrast that I hadn't thought much about before: the contrast between a teleological lesbian history that works to explain "how did we get to where we are now?" and a more descriptive history that asks, "what are the ways in which female same-sex desire was expressed in the past?" Any number of publications have made me twitch when they viewed "the modern lesbian" as some sort of holy grail that women in the past must surely have been ignorantly groping toward.

I've read all the submissions, I've made my selections, and now it's time to announce the 2021 podcast fiction line-up! (Well, technically, it's "the rest of 2021 and the first story of 2022" because once again, one of the stories I bought this year will have to wait until next January to air.)

I thought I had this week's blog entry all written up, and then Monday morning rolled around and it turns out I didn't. This is the last article I'll be covering from Homosexuailty in French History and Culture, so I need to brainstorm what to move on to next. It probably makes sense to go back to the remaining journal articles that I downloaded from JSTOR back before the quarantine started. I really miss my trips to the UC Berkeley library, but it isn't like I lack books on my own shelves to fill the time until we're back to something resembling normal.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 195 - Madame de Murat: Author of Fairy Tales, Lover of Women - transcript

(Originally aired 2021/02/20 - listen here)

In an era when men intrested in homosexual encounters were creating subcultures, meeting places, and social institutions such as "molly houses,"  there are vanishingly few indications that women with sapphic interests had anything similar. Except in the popular imagination. In fictional works such as L'Espion Anglois and in satirical political tracts, the image of an entire secret society of lesbians was developed. Was there any foundation of truth to these imagined lesbian sex clubs? Likely not on the scale depicted, though perhaps on a smaller more personal level.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 194 - On the Shelf for February 2021 - Transcript

(Originally aired 2021/02/06 - listen here)

Welcome to On the Shelf for February 2021.

(Lightly adapted from the original twitter thread. My first draft included more detailed descriptions of the books, but I edited ruthlessly to make (most of) them fit into individual tweets.)

25 recommended texts from the Lesbian Historic Motif Project blog. This is in response to a twitter request for suggested reading on pre-20th century queer history. My specific specialty is on sapphic/lesbian history, though some of these works are broader in coverage.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 193 - Fiction Special: A Soldier in the Army of Love by Diane Morrison - transcript

(Originally aired 2021/01/30 - listen here)

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