A commitment to difference: An interview with Esther Newton

Boyce, P; Engebretsen, E; Gonzalez-Polledo, EJ; Posocco, S; Newton, E and Lewin, E. 2018. A commitment to difference: An interview with Esther Newton. Sexualities, 21(5-6), pp. 951-969. ISSN 1363-4607 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Esther Newton (b. 1940) is an influential American anthropologist, whose pioneering work on drag queens and gay and lesbian communities has contributed to the emergence of gay and lesbian anthropology, and gradually also queer anthropology, as a recognized sub-field within socio-cultural anthropology. Newton undertook her graduate work at the University of Chicago under the tutelage of Professor David Schneider. Newton is currently Professor of Women’s Studies and American Culture, Department of Women’s Studies, University of Michigan. Her memoir, My Butch Career, is forthcoming from Duke University Press.

Newton was interviewed at the 113th American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in Washington DC, on Friday 5 December 2014. Prior to the interview, co-editors Boyce, Engebretsen and Posocco along with Gonzalez-Polledo developed a list of themes and questions that guided the conversation that follows. We have aimed to maintain the sense of informal and jovial atmosphere that guided the interview, as it began over a lunch meal in the hotel lobby and continued afterwards in the quiet of Esther’s hotel room, with Elisabeth joining in on Skype from China, and Ellen Lewin – Esther’s room-mate and also notable feminist and queer anthropologist – entering the room and contributing to the latter part of the discussion.

The following conversation is between Esther Newton (EN) and Paul Boyce (PB), Elisabeth Engebretsen (EE), EJ Gonzalez-Polledo (EJG), Ellen Lewin (EL), Silvia Posocco (SP).

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1 September 2018Published
2 June 2017Published Online
31 January 2016Accepted

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Date Deposited:

03 Nov 2017 12:26

Last Modified:

14 Apr 2021 09:47

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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