Lesbian Studies in Aotearoa/New Zealand

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Alison J. Laurie
Harrington Park Press, 2001 - History - 243 pages
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Share the joys and struggles of lesbians in this bicultural nation!

This powerful collection presents landmark original research into the history, literature, and sociology of lesbians in Aotearoa/New Zealand from that nation's best-known scholars and writers. A nation with two names, two distinct cultural traditions, two large islands, and two official languages, Aotearoa/New Zealand brings together the colonized and the descendants of the colonizers. In the ongoing cultural dialogue that results, fresh and exciting ideas are being introduced by a multiplicity of voices. Lesbian Studies in Aotearoa/New Zealand is the first internationally published collection of academic articles on lesbian studies from this nation.

Lesbian Studies in Aotearoa/New Zealand begins with a major paradigm shift in the islands’mythic love story. Ngahuia Te Awekotuku retells the legend of an aristocratic Maori woman who, against all custom, chose her own husband. The author, a descendant of the famous couple, through historical research unearthed the homoerotic subtext censored by the white nineteenth-century writer who sentimentalized it into a European romance. This revisioning anticipates the historical, literary, and social research that follows.

Ranging from literature to law, the essays demonstrate the breadth of erudition of scholars from both Maori and Pakeha (European) traditions, including essays discussing:
  • the re-telling of a traditional Maori story
  • several historical studies of women who passed as men in order to marry and work as they pleased
  • reclaiming the work and lives of ”lost lesbians” in the arts, including Ngaio Marsh and Frances Mary Hodgkins
  • the effects of globalization and economic change on lesbians
  • the implications of legal discrimination
  • the psychological and social implications of lesbian mothers having sons
  • an empirical study of the effects of coming out on women's health
  • a philosophical look at ways to reconcile lesbian sexuality and Christianity

    The historical and contemporary research gathered in Lesbian Studies in Aotearoa/New Zealand provides a new perspective from which to view both lesbian cultures and local prescriptive ideologies about sexualities.

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good overview of lesbians in in nz, pity so many pages omitted

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