British Association for American Studies


LGBT History Month

Curating LGBT History Month: Lessons Learned

February 2016 featured the most successful LGBT History month event series the University of Nottingham has ever seen. Hannah Rose Murray, programme organiser, reflects on the challenges she faced when curating the series and what systems of support she needed in place when she began. The post concludes with a series of event reviews from postgraduates in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham.

What is, and how to do, LGBT History?

In this post, Dr Mark Walmsley, independent scholar and a member of the Academic Advisory Panel to Schools OUT UK, discusses the shift in attitudes towards engaging with LGBTQ issues within HE at a research, teaching, and ‘impact’ level. Mark argues that “in an age of ‘impact agendas’ and ‘public engagement initiatives’, Universities should not be ignoring a sizeable community that is often crying out for academic support and interest… It is time that LGBT history is not something we contribute to in February, but something that we actively take into account throughout the academic year.”

Silence = Death: Podcasting the history of the AIDS Crisis

By Malcolm Craig and Mark McLay, creators of the American History Too! podcast

As two white, straight, middle-class Scottish, male historians, do we have the right to explore such subjects? We would say yes. It’s the job of the historian to look at the evidence, illuminate dark corners, and try to make people aware about what really happened.

We felt that in order to do the subject of the 1980s AIDS crisis justice, we had to avoid repeating many of the myths and falsehoods that abound about the virus and the period. It was important not only examine the historiography of the subject, but crucially to look at the personal testimonies from those who contracted AIDS, those who tried to track its origins, and those who turned a blind eye when they should have extended a hand of friendship.

The Forgotten LGBT Pioneers of 1956

In this post to mark LGBT History Month, Dr Simon Hall (University of Leeds) – author of 1956: The World in Revolt (London: Faber and Faber, 2016) – discusses the origins of an obscure magazine, Ladder – the official monthly publication of the pioneering lesbian organisation, the Daughters of Bilitis, which sought to promote “the integration of the homosexual in society”, embracing the politics of ‘respectability’ as a way to advance the cause, and to press the claims, of gay and lesbian Americans. The publication of Ladder’s first issue in October 1956, argues Hall, was a quietly subversive act of a truly revolutionary year.