No Place Like Home: A Cultural History of Gay Domesticity, 1948-1982

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No Place Like Home: A Cultural History of Gay Domesticity, 1948-1982

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Title: No Place Like Home: A Cultural History of Gay Domesticity, 1948-1982
Author: Vider, Stephen Joshua
Citation: Vider, Stephen Joshua. 2013. No Place Like Home: A Cultural History of Gay Domesticity, 1948-1982. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: No Place Like Home: A Cultural History of Gay Domesticity, 1948-1982, explores the development of gay male domestic spaces and their representation in American culture, from the publication of the first Kinsey Report to the AIDS epidemic. Through archival research, and analysis of periodicals, books, and film, it shows that gay men frequently experienced their homes as key sites in the construction of sexual identities, relationships, and communities. Social scientists, journalists, and filmmakers of the 1950s and 60s typically depicted gay men as outsiders, if not threats, to the ideal heterosexual household, either anti-domestic (lonely figures who lurked city streets, bathrooms, and bars in search of a one-night stand), or hyper-domestic (prissy interior decorators whose work alienated "real" men from their homes). Such images, however, overlooked the actual range of social and political possibilities gay men found in the supposed privacy of apartments and houses. No Place Like Home uncovers these domestic performances in order to reconsider the evolution of gay culture and domesticity in the postwar period. Each chapter advances chronologically while tracing the lineage of five tropes of gay male home-making: (1) the interior decorator; (2) homosexual marriage; (3) camp humor and cooking; (4) communes; and (5) vacation homes. In practice and representation, domesticity provided a stage for gay men and their observers to negotiate social anxieties around masculinity and sexuality, and debate conventional conceptions of home and family.
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11181078
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