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If I’d paid attention to the contents of this article before scheduling it, I might have saved it to cover after reading the book it’s commenting on: Carolyn Dinshaw’s Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern. And I’ve compounded the problem by scheduling it next to an item by Dinshaw, again talking about Getting Medieval. Given that this article is Hollywood’s personal reaction to reading Dinshaw, it’s going to be of somewhat less relevance and usefulness than covering Dinshaw’s book itself.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 33b - On the Shelf for April 2019 - Transcript

(Originally aired 2019/04/13 - listen here)

Welcome to On the Shelf for April 2019.

No, you aren’t imagining things, this month’s On the Shelf episode is airing the second Saturday of the month, not the first Saturday. Horrors! It’s all due to the timing of our 100th episode special last week.

The main focus of the Lesbian Historic Motif Project is, of course, research on specific topics that fall within the historic scope of the Project. But the question of what gets studied, by whom, and in what context is affected by the trends, fashions, and politics of the modern academic community. Who is doing that primary research? Who are they in conversation with (or arguing against)? What topics will be accepted as appropriate to the scope of their academic careers and which ones can they only tackle if they have job security?

Horváth seems to have written extensively on this topic, with special attention to the ways in which early descriptions of the people and phenomenon were distorted by their own prejudices and social context. Horváth is careful to try to engage with questions of gender identity in a sensitive fashion without projecting modern categories into the past or onto other cultures, although readers who identify strongly with her subjects as trans men may find her pronoun usage disconcerting.

This article coincidentally touches on some of the topics that will be the subject of this month's podcast essay. What is the relationship between physiology, social performance and presentation, and legal status with respect to gender and sexuality? In tracing shifts in how these questions were asked and answered across time and space, we can begin to grasp a relativistic understanding of gender and sexuality categories.

Even when Sahar Amer is largely recycling topics that the Project has covered from her before, there's always enough new material to provide intriguing glimpses of what's out there in the field of medieval Arabic same-sex literature. One of these years, if I continue the fiction series on the podcast, I dream of getting an own-voices story drawing on this material. (Or lots of them! But I don't want to dream too high.) The topic of women's same-sex relations in the Islamicate world has too often been treated through an Orientalizing or male-gaze lens when depicted in fiction.

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 32d - Laudomia Loves Margaret

(Originally aired 2019/03/23 - listen here)

Sometimes you send a query out into the universe and the universe says, "We'd love to have you on our podcast!" Check out this episode of the Smart Bitches Trashy Books podcast, where I talk about the Lesbian Historic Motif Project, the current field of lesbian historical fiction, and many other things.

I’ll confess that I thought this article was going to be a lot more relevant to lesbian history than it was, given the inclusion of “Tommies” in the title. I’m including this brief summary because I already had the article scheduled, but the content is solidly focused on male issues and topics. In that context, it’s a fascinating look at shifting images of masculinity and the part that institutionalized male homoerotic encounters and relationships played in those images. But the reference to "tommies" is minor and entirely in relation to male desires.

I've met women like Linton, as she is depicted in this article. You probably have too. The woman who despises other women for the same traits and behaviors she herself displays. The woman who goes on the lecture circuit telling women they should stay in the home. The woman who simultaneously wants to be "one of the guys" but mocks women as a class--whether for their femininity or for their unfemininity. The woman who has clawed her way into economic independence then argues against women's rights.


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