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Tom Boellstorff is an anthropologist based at the University of California, Irvine. In his career to date, his interests have included the anthropology of sexuality, the anthropology of globalization, digital anthropology, Southeast Asian studies, the anthropology of HIV/AIDS, and linguistic anthropology.
Tom Boellstorff earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology at Stanford University in 2000. He joined the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine in 2002, receiving tenure in 2006. He is the winner of the Ruth Benedict Prize given by the Society of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists. From 2007–2012 he was Editor-in-Chief of American Anthropologist , the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association, and coedits the Princeton University Press book series "Princeton Studies in Culture and Technology." He has been Co-chair of the Association for Queer Anthropology (formerly the Society of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists). He has received a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies and research support from the National Science Foundation and the Social Science Research Council. In 2016 he was made a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has conducted research on LGBT sexualities in Indonesia and on culture in virtual worlds, including disability experience in Second Life (see the documentary Our Digital Selves: My Avatar Is Me).
Raised in Nebraska, Boellstorff moved to California to obtain bachelor's degrees in linguistics and music from Stanford University. He engaged in HIV/AIDS and LGBT activism in the United States, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Russia, at times with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (now Outright International) and the Institute for Community Health Outreach, where he worked as Regional Coordinator before entering graduate school in anthropology. His husband, Bill Maurer, is Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Dean of Social Sciences at the University of California, Irvine.
He is also the co-editor of Data, Now Bigger and Better! (Prickly Paradigm Press, 2015) and Speaking in Queer Tongues: Globalization and Gay Language (University of Illinois Press, 2004).
His work has been published in American Anthropologist; American Ethnologist; Annual Review of Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology; Current Anthropology, Environment and Planning D; Ethnos, Games and Culture, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies; Information, Communication, and Society; International Journal of Communication; Journal of Linguistic Anthropology; Journal of Asian Studies; and Media, Culture, and Society.
Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or are not cisgender. Originally meaning "strange" or "peculiar", queer came to be used pejoratively against those with same-sex desires or relationships in the late 19th century. Beginning in the late 1980s, queer activists, such as the members of Queer Nation, began to reclaim the word as a deliberately provocative and politically radical alternative to the more assimilationist branches of the LGBT community.
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.
Linguistic anthropology is the interdisciplinary study of how language influences social life. It is a branch of anthropology that originated from the endeavor to document endangered languages, and has grown over the past century to encompass most aspects of language structure and use.
LGBT slang, LGBT speak, or gay slang is a set of slang lexicon used predominantly among LGBT people. It has been used in various languages since the early 20th century as a means by which members of the LGBT community identify themselves and speak in code with brevity and speed to others.
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.
Digital anthropology is the anthropological study of the relationship between humans and digital-era technology. The field is new, and thus has a variety of names with a variety of emphases. These include techno-anthropology, digital ethnography, cyberanthropology, and virtual anthropology.
Gilbert H. Herdt 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.
Stephen O. Murray was a sociologist, anthropologist, and independent scholar based in San Francisco, California. He was known for extensive scholarly work on the sociology, anthropology, and comparative history of sexual and gender minorities, on sociolinguistics, history of the social sciences, and as an important editor and organizer of scholarly work in these areas.
Sexuality and space is a field of study within human geography. The phrase encompasses all relationships and interactions between human sexuality, space and place, themes studied within cultural geography, i.e., environmental and architectural psychology, urban sociology, gender studies, queer studies, socio-legal studies, planning, housing studies and criminology.
LGBT linguistics is the study of language as used by members of the LGBT community. Related or synonymous terms include lavender linguistics, advanced by William Leap in the 1990s, which "encompass[es] a wide range of everyday language practices" in LGBT communities, and queer linguistics, which more specifically refers to linguistics overtly concerned with exposing heteronormativity. The former term derives from the longtime association of the color lavender with LGBT communities. "Language", in this context, may refer to any aspect of spoken or written linguistic practices, including speech patterns and pronunciation, use of certain vocabulary, and, in a few cases, an elaborate alternative lexicon such as Polari.
Bahasa Binan is a distinctive Indonesian speech variety originating from the gay community. It has several regular patterns of word formation and is documented in both writing and speech. One pattern of word formation modifies standard Indonesian roots to have e as the first vowel and ong closing the second syllable—hence providing regular assonance with the standard Indonesian word bencong[ˈbɛntʃɔŋ], a male homosexual, trans woman, or male crossdresser. Another word formation pattern adds -in- infixes to other Indonesian roots. The best example is the word binan itself, formed with the word banci, "male transvestite", to which the -in- infix has been added and from which the second syllable -ci has been dropped. Bahasa Binan also uses a range of standard Indonesian words with altered meaning. The standard word for "cat", kucing, is used in Bahasa Binan to denote a male prostitute. Another word with wide currency in Bahasa Binan, but actually typical of standard Indonesian informal word formation, is waria from wanita (woman) + pria (man), meaning "transvestite".
Two-Spirit is a modern, pan-Indian, umbrella term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe Native people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender ceremonial and social role in their cultures.
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.
Susan O'Neal Stryker is an American professor, author, filmmaker, and theorist whose work focuses on gender and human sexuality. She is Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, former director of the Institute for LGBT Studies, and founder of the Transgender Studies Initiative at the University of Arizona, and is currently on leave while holding an appointment as Barbara Lee Distinguished Chair in Women's Leadership at Mills College. Stryker also serves on the Advisory Council of METI. A transgender woman, she is the author of several books about LGBT history and culture.
Lionel Cantú Jr., was an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who focused on queer theory, queer issues, and Latin American immigration. His groundbreaking dissertation, The Sexuality of Migration: Border Crossings and Mexican Immigrant Men, which was edited, compiled, and published posthumously, focuses on the experiences of Mexican-queer migrants.
Walter Lee Williams is a former professor of anthropology, history, and gender studies at the University of Southern California. He is one of the pioneers in the field of queer studies, with a long background in human rights activism.
This is a timeline of notable events in the history of non-heterosexual conforming people of South Asian ancestry, who may identify as LGBTIQGNC, men who have sex with men, or related culturally-specific identities such as Hijra, Aravani, Thirunangaigal, Khwajasara, Kothi, Thirunambigal, Jogappa, Jogatha, or Shiva Shakti. The recorded history traces back at least two millennia.
Juana María Rodríguez is a professor of Ethnic Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, and Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her scholarly writing in queer theory, critical race theory, and performance studies highlights the intersection of race, gender, sexuality and embodiment in constructing subjectivity.
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.
Evelyn Blackwood is an American anthropologist whose research focuses on gender, sexuality, identity, and kinship. She was awarded the Ruth Benedict Prize in 1999, 2007 and 2011. Blackwood is an emerita professor of anthropology at Purdue University.
Part One: WHAT IS LIFE? Segment 3 ..."And anthropologist Tom Boellstorff takes us on a tour through the virtual world of Second Life."