Elisabeth George

Elisabeth Georgeelisabet@buffalo.edu | CV

Fields: US | Women’s History

Advisor: Susan Cahn

MA Cultural Anthropology, Binghamton University
BA Spanish, New Mexico State University

 

Dissertation Title: “Queer Life in the Queen City and Beyond: Resistance, Space, and Community Mobilization in the Southwest Missouri Ozarks, 1939-2003”

Queer life in southwest Missouri in the second half of the twentieth century has been largely characterized by coalition building, the creation of shared identities, and the development of a variety of tactics for everyday survival and political activism. My dissertation builds on recent rural and southern LGBTQ historical scholarship by moving beyond the traditional metronormative trajectory of progress. I situate the narrative within a context where people quite often travelled between the rural hinterland and the semi-urban cityscape and argue that while the New Christian Right had a stronghold in the ‘buckle of the Biblebelt,’ the region’s queer population pushed back in a myriad of ways. They established resistance networks, from rural outposts of lesbian separatist communities to gay male cruising spaces, and formed grassroots organizations, such as Aids Project of the Ozarks and the Gay and Lesbian Center of the Ozarks. Despite the existence of exclusively gay or lesbian social spaces and organizations, LGBTQ-identified people in southwest Missouri created new, more inclusive, spaces that traversed sex and gender boundaries in order to mobilize against incredibly vocal, and sometimes violent, homophobic opposition.