My Butch Career: A Memoir

Regular price $25.24

⏳ Hurry! Sale ends in {timer}

Added to Cart! View cart or continue shopping.
In My Butch Career Esther Newton tells the compelling, disarming, and at times sexy story of her struggle to write, teach, and find love, all while coming to terms with her identity. Newton recounts a series of traumas and conflicts, from being molested as a child to her failed attempts to live a "normal," straight life in high school and college. She discusses being denied tenure at Queens College and nearly again so at SUNY Purchase. With humor and grace, she describes her introduction to middle-class gay life and her love affairs. By age forty, where Newton's narrative ends, she began to achieve personal and scholarly stability in the company of the first politicized generation of out lesbian and gay scholars with whom she helped create gender and sexuality studies. Affecting and immediate, My Butch Career is a story of a gender outlaw in the making, an invaluable account of a beloved and influential figure in LGBT history, and a powerful reminder of only how recently it has been possible to be an openly queer academic.

About the Author

Esther Newton is formerly Term Professor of Women's Studies at the University of Michigan and Professor of Anthropology at Purchase College, State University of New York. She is the author of several books, including Margaret Mead Made Me Gay and Cherry Grove, Fire Island, both also published by Duke University Press, as well as Mother Camp.

"In My Butch Career Esther Newton takes her readers through her chaotic family history, the uncharted territory of coming to terms with an identity that is far outside the norms for her generation, and the transforming effects that new social movements had on her. Bringing personalities, scenes, conversations, and relationships to life, Newton has written a book that is powerful, gripping, and immensely readable."--John D'Emilio "Esther Newton's sharp insights into her developing consciousness are sometimes so precise and revealing that they take my breath away. Her wit gives her personal traumas in a hostile society universal meaning, making her pain and pleasure available to all, while her reflections on the interconnections of gender, sex, and feminism in love-making remain fresh. Capturing the multiple layers of identity and examining how social forces shape our lives, My Butch Career is absolutely unique in the way it explores women's desire as both personal and social. I know of no other memoir like it."--Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy "Newton is not afraid to get personal and offer her mistakes, personality development, and failed relationships for contemplation. After decades of personal and professional struggle, Newton finds a scholarly community in an evolved culture and helps to create the academic study of gender and sexuality. This book is simultaneously a memoir and an exemplar of this important field."--Emily Dziuban "Booklist" (10/1/2018 12:00:00 AM) "In the tradition of the best memoirs, it is chattily engaging, historically illuminating, and deeply, provocatively ruminative. . . . My Butch Career feels intoxicatingly, palpably real: It's a story we can reach out and touch and one we can also situate ourselves in, even if we're decades younger than the 78-year-old Newton. What makes My Butch Career so compelling is that while writing about herself, Newton is also examining her milieu with the eye of the cultural anthropologist she became. The story she tells is as much our story as it is hers."--Victoria A. Brownworth "Curve" (9/15/2018 12:00:00 AM) "Throughout My Butch Career, Newton is remarkably candid about the ways that class has influenced her work and perspective on the historical events unfolding around her. . . . It's a testament to just how great an anthropologist and chronicler of queer life she is that Newton makes sure to include the kinds of details that paint a more complete and complex picture of the world as she's experienced it."--Alexis Clements "Los Angeles Review of Books" (12/23/2018 12:00:00 AM) "My Butch Career joins a distinguished list of lesbian herstories. . .. It is for readers interested in the psychological and cultural challenges for an individual who identifies as a butch lesbian, as well as readers who are interested in lesbian herstory within the greater context of thegay rights movement."--Cassandra Langer "Gay & Lesbian Review" (3/1/2019 12:00:00 AM) "My Butch Career is an important narrative of liberation that contributes singularly to the growing body of collective LGBTQ history. It covers the first forty-one years of the writer's life, a time frame that calls out for a sequel. Newton concludes her memoir with a tribute to the queer writers who have preceded her. With this work, she has secured her place in that pantheon."--Anne Charles "Lambda Literary Review" (3/19/2019 12:00:00 AM) "The most captivating part of the book sees Newton circulating through second-wave feminist and lesbian circles in New York and Paris, where the debates, social hierarchies, and tangled affairs she encounters bring her to a late coming of age. In the eighties, her scholarship, once ignored, achieves recognition with the rise of gender and sexuality studies. The book is a thoughtful examination of how personal experiences spur intellectual progress."-- "The New Yorker" (2/4/2019 12:00:00 AM) "Disarming and compelling. . . . My Butch Career is the humorous and graceful story of a gender outlaw in the making, blazing the trail in queer academia."-- "The Advocate" (12/30/2018 12:00:00 AM) "My Butch Career is an arrival story.... All anthropologists, students as well as educators, should read this because it calls attention to what has changed and shows the importance of LGBT/queer social movements and networks of non-normative communities."--Anika Keinz "Journal of the Royal Anthropological Quarterly" (4/1/2021 12:00:00 AM)

Publisher: Duke University Press
Pub date: April 10, 2020
288 pages
Format: Paperback