Introduction: on lesbians and other animals

Munt, Sally (2008) Introduction: on lesbians and other animals. In: Tiernan, Sonja and McCauliffe, Mary (eds.) Sapphists and sexologists. Histories of sexualities, 2 . Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Cambridge, xvii-xxxi. ISBN 9781443801331

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This second Volume of essays, following on from Tribades, Tommies and Trangressives; Histories of Sexualities (Vol. 1), was inspired by the fifteenth annual Lesbian Lives conference, “Historicising the Lesbian,” held in University College Dublin. The chapters chosen for inclusion in this volume follow the high standard of scholarship established in Volume 1 and contain an extraordinary collection which, once again, covers a wide-range of historical interests related to lesbian studies. This collection of essays has three main sections which focus on; Literature and Historical Fiction; Lesbian Activism and Lesbian Academe; as well as Music, Art and Popular Culture. This book complements and extends on the research contained in Volume 1 which includes sections focusing on; Lesbian Myths, Histories and Biographies; Radical Journals and Private Diaries; Psychoanalysis and the Medical Pathologising of the Lesbian and Female Masculinities / Femininities. In her introduction Sally R. Munt describes the Lesbian Lives experience “as a gathering, a community, a practice” that continues after four decades of lesbian activism to celebrate the sheer confidence of lesbianism, the fact that “we like being lesbians and even more strange we like being with each other, even wanting to get together to hear an old-fashioned argument.” Munt describes how the universal lesbian experience is an ambivalence towards the term “lesbian.” Sometimes it fits, at other times it constricts and inhibits – it is our badge of honour or the weight on our backs, sometime we leave it aside to be anonymous or to pass as something else. While Munt supposes that “lesbianism will last, but we do not know on what terms and especially what this means.” She suggest that “definition is perhaps the least of our concerns” and proposes instead that we explore how lesbian lives are lived and “to think about how lesbian desires might extend into our affectional lives more than first realised.” Munt also gives a tender, hilarious and thoughtful commentary on how the love of cats “might be a symptom of lesbianity.”

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: International Conference Proceedings.
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Depositing User: Sally Munt
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:15
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2019 09:07
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