Sapphistries: A Global History of Love between Women

Sapphistries: A Global History of Love between Women

Sapphistries: A Global History of Love between Women

Sapphistries: A Global History of Love between Women

Excerpt

When I have told people, over the past couple of years, that I was writing a short, accessible, synthetic global history of love between women from the beginning of time to the present, they often laughed or rolled their eyes. I understand why—it is an insanely ambitious project. So I am especially grateful for the confidence of Michael Kimmel and Suzanna Walters, editors of the Intersections series, and Ilene Kalish, executive editor at New York University Press, that I could pull this off.

The idea for this book emerged from a course called “Sapphistries” that I developed at the University of California, Santa Barbara—or maybe it was the other way around. Having returned to my original academic home in women's studies, I decided to shift my focus from a comparative angle on male and female same-sex sexuality to a concentration on desire, love, and sex between women. It has been an adventure, and I am grateful for the students in my “Sapphistries” classes for their enthusiasm for the subject, their perceptive questions, and helping me to think about things in new ways. I am also thankful for the work of my colleagues in the Department of Feminist Studies—Jacqueline Bobo, Eileen Boris, Grace Chang, Barbara Herr Harthorn, Ellie Hernàndez, Mireille Miller-Young, Laury Oaks, and Barbara Tomlinson—all of whom, in vastly different ways, have opened my eyes to new ways of looking at teaching and scholarship. My chair and friend, Eileen Boris, has been particularly supportive. And I could not have gone on without the wonderful work of our Feminist Studies staff, Lou Anne Lockwood, Christina Toy, and Blanca Nuila. Lou Anne, in particular, has shared lunches, coffees, heart-to-heart talks, and dog-sitting for Phoebe.

Of course this book could not have been written without the amazing scholarship—far more than I thought when I set out to write—of so many fine scholars. The notes and references track their contributions, but I want to name a few here whose work I have used especially extensively: Evelyn Blackwood, Bernadette Brooten, Rudolf Dekker and Lotte van de Pol, Lillian Faderman, Marti Lybeck, Jacqueline Murray, Gregory . . .

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