Deborah Cohler ('Citizen, Invert, Queer: Lesbianism & War in Early 20th Century Britain') event on Monday, September 27 at A Different Light bookstore in the Castro, San Francisco.
Citizen, Invert, Queer examines the relationship of queer sexuality to nationalism and race in England during World War I. The book argues that before WWI, British culture did not really "understand" lesbianism as an identity, but that after the war, this was a common understanding. So, I ask, how did this shift occur? The book explores how "masculine women" came to be regarded as lesbians by the 1920s, and argues that the masculine citizenship encouraged for women during the war, combined with homophobic ideas about gay men, Germans, and decadence during the war, spurred this change. The conclusion of the book suggests how my methodology might help us to understand shifts in gender and sexuality after September 11, 2001 on our own current "home front."
Deborah Cohler is associate professor of women and gender studies at San Francisco State University. She researches how war changes our ideas about sexuality, gender, race, and citizenship. In addition to Citizen, Invert, Queer she has published articles on the queer effects of war. Her new research project examines media and political representations of gender and sexuality during the War on Terror under George W. Bush.