Gilbert Herdt in 2019
|Born||February 24, 1949|
|Alma mater||University of Washington, Australian National University|
|Fields||Human Sexuality, Anthropology|
|Institutions||Stanford University, University of Chicago and others|
|Academic advisors||Roger M. Keesing, Derek Freeman, Robert J. Stoller|
|Part of a series on the|
|Anthropology of kinship|
| Social anthropology |
Gilbert H. Herdt (born February 24, 1949) is Emeritus Professor of Human Sexuality Studies and Anthropology and a Founder of the Department of Sexuality Studies and National Sexuality Resource Center at San Francisco State University. He founded the Summer Institute on Sexuality and Society at the University of Amsterdam (1996). He founded the PhD Program in Human Sexuality at the California Institute for Integral Studies, San Francisco (2013). He conducted long term field work among the Sambia people of Papua New Guinea, and has written widely on the nature and variation in human sexual expression in Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, and across culture.
Herdt is a research scholar, advocate for human sexuality, and a gay activistwho has taught at Stanford University, the University of Chicago, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Washington. In 2000, Herdt cofounded the Institute on Sexuality, Social Inequality and Health that studies all forms of sexuality and discrimination that affect community building, sexual culture and sexual health.
He specializes in the anthropology of sexuality, sexual orientation, sexual cultures, and the development of gender identity and sexual expression. His studies of the 'Sambia' people — a pseudonym he created — of Papua New Guinea analyzes how culture and society create sexual meanings and practices. The Sambia are unique in that in the past they require males to undergo three specific sexual phases in their lives. Boys must provide sexual service to young men, adolescents must then receive oral sex from boys, and males enter adulthood by becoming heterosexual.
In the United States, Herdt has also studied adolescents and their families, the emergence of HIV and gay culture, and the role that social policy plays in sexual health.
He has written and edited some 36 books, and more than 100 scientific papers. He is also the general editor of Worlds of Desire, and an associate editor of Journal of Culture, Sexuality, and Health, Journal of Men and Masculinities, and Transaction: Journal of Social Science and Modern Society.
Herdt is the recipient of various awards and research grants, including:
Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to persons of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or to both sexes or more than one gender. These attractions are generally subsumed under heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality, while asexuality is sometimes identified as the fourth category.
Queer studies, sexual diversity studies, or LGBT studies is the study of issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity usually focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender dysphoria, asexual, queer, questioning, intersex people and cultures.
Third gender or third sex is a concept in which individuals are categorized, either by themselves or by society, as neither man nor woman. It is also a social category present in societies that recognize three or more genders. The term third is usually understood to mean "other"; some anthropologists and sociologists have described fourth, fifth, and "some" genders.
Societal attitudes toward homosexuality vary greatly across different cultures and historical periods, as do attitudes toward sexual desire, activity and relationships in general. All cultures have their own values regarding appropriate and inappropriate sexuality; some sanction same-sex love and sexuality, while others may disapprove of such activities in part. As with heterosexual behaviour, different sets of prescriptions and proscriptions may be given to individuals according to their gender, age, social status or social class.
Gayle S. Rubin is an American cultural anthropologist best known as an activist and theorist of sex and gender politics. She has written on a range of subjects including feminism, sadomasochism, prostitution, pedophilia, pornography and lesbian literature, as well as anthropological studies and histories of sexual subcultures, especially focused in urban contexts. Her 1984 essay "Thinking Sex" is widely regarded as a founding text of gay and lesbian studies, sexuality studies, and queer theory. She is an associate professor of anthropology and women's studies at the University of Michigan.
Human male sexuality encompasses a wide variety of feelings and behaviors. Men's feelings of attraction may be caused by various physical and social traits of their potential partner. Men's sexual behavior can be affected by many factors, including evolved predispositions, individual personality, upbringing, and culture. While most men are heterosexual, significant minorities are homosexual or varying degrees of bisexual.
Don Kulick is professor of anthropology at Uppsala University in Sweden. Kulick works within the frameworks of both cultural and linguistic anthropology, and has carried out field work in Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Italy and Sweden. Kulick is also known for his extensive fieldwork on the Taiap people and their language in Gapun village of East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea.
The National Sexuality Resource Center (NSRC) is a San Francisco-based organization which advocates the positive representation of human sexuality, creates educational content, and provides training about human sexuality. The center also counters what it views as negative representations of sexuality while fostering dialog of sexuality issues as a natural part of being human.
John H. Gagnon was a pioneering sociologist of human sexuality who wrote and edited 15 books and over 100 articles. His key work is Sexual Conduct: The Social Sources of Human Sexuality (1973), which he co-authored with William Simon. He was Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook where he taught and researched from 1968 to 1998.
Clinical ethnography is a term first used by Gilbert Herdt and Robert Stoller in a series of papers in the 1980s. As Herdt defines it, clinical ethnography
is the intensive study of subjectivity in cultural context...clinical ethnography is focused on the microscopic understanding of sexual subjectivity and individual differences within cross-cultural communities. What distinguishes clinical ethnography from anthropological ethnography in general is (a) the application of disciplined clinical training to ethnographic problems and (b) developmental concern with desires and meanings as they are distributed culturally within groups and across the course of life.
Donald F. Tuzin was an American social anthropologist best known for his ethnographic work on the Ilahita Arapesh, a horticultural people living in northeast lowland New Guinea, and for comparative studies of gender and sexuality within Melanesia. Tuzin was born in Chicago, Illinois, grew up in Winona, Minnesota, and spent his teen years again in Chicago. He received his B.A. from Western Reserve University in Ohio, where he became interested in anthropology and participated in the excavation of Native American archaeological sites left by the Mound Builders. He also received his master's degree from Case Western Reserve.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Papua New Guinea face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Male same-sex sexual activity is illegal, punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment, but the law is not enforced.
Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves sexually. This involves biological, erotic, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual feelings and behaviors. Because it is a broad term, which has varied with historical contexts over time, it lacks a precise definition. The biological and physical aspects of sexuality largely concern the human reproductive functions, including the human sexual response cycle.
The Etoro, or Edolo, are a tribe and ethnic group of Papua New Guinea. Their territory comprises the southern slopes of Mt. Sisa, along the southern edge of the central mountain range of New Guinea, near the Papuan Plateau. They are well known among anthropologists because of ritual acts practiced between the young boys and men of the tribe. The Etoro believe that young males must ingest the semen of their elders to achieve adult male status and to properly mature and grow strong.
William Leap is an emeritus professor of anthropology at American University and an affiliate professor in the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Florida Atlantic University. He works in the overlapping fields of language and sexuality studies and queer linguistics, especially so, queer historical linguistics.
The Sambia people are a tribe of mountain-dwelling, hunting and horticultural people who inhabit the fringes of the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea, and are extensively described by the American anthropologist Gilbert Herdt. The Sambia – a pseudonym created by Herdt himself – are known by cultural anthropologists for their acts of "ritualized homosexuality" and semen ingestion practices with pubescent boys. In his studies of the Sambia, Herdt describes the people in light of their sexual culture and how their practices shape the masculinities of adolescent Sambia boys.
Simbari or Chimbari, is an Angan language of Papua New Guinea.
Nature, Culture and Gender is a book length social science essay collection that analyzes views that describe "nature" as inferior to "culture". Hence, the authors draw on anthropology and history to critique ideologies that, by equating women with nature, renders the female gender as inferior, while the male, equated to culture is seen as superior. The co-editors of this book published in 1980 by Cambridge University Press are Carol MacCormack and Marilyn Strathern. The contributing authors are Carol P. MacCormack, Maurice Bloch, Jean H. Bloch, L. J. Jordanova, Olivia Harris, Jane C. Goodale, Gillian Gillison, Marilyn Strathern.
Ellen Lewin is an American author, anthropologist, and academic. Lewin, a lesbian, focuses her work on areas of motherhood, sexuality, and reproduction. She received the Ruth Benedict Prize in 1992 for her monograph, Lesbian Mothers: Accounts of Gender in American Culture.. Lewin is a professor of anthropology at the University of Iowa.
Sambia Sexual Culture: Essays from the Field is a 1999 book about the Sambia people and their sexual practices by the anthropologist Gilbert Herdt. The book received negative reviews, accusing Herdt of being biased in his approach and his conclusions.
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