In celebration of LGBT+ History Month 2024, LSE’s librarian for Gender Studies Heather Dawson recommends seven popular texts on LGBTQ+ themes.
As LSE Library’s Gender Studies Librarian, I compiled this list of contemporary and classic books relating to LGBTQ+ history using books on current LSE course reading lists, so they are all available from LSE Library and endorsed by our academic staff, too.
During February, I will be posting links on X and Instagram to other recommended LGBTQ+ resources available via LSE Library, including article and primary resource databases. LSE staff and students can book one-to-one advice sessions for further help researching LQBTQ+ resources.
LSE Library is also home to the Hall-Carpenter Archives, an extensive collection of ephemera and printed material documenting the development of gay activism in the UK since the 1950s. For LGBT+ History Month, the collection’s curator Gillian Murphy is hosting a drop-in session to showcase a selection of items. This will take place on Wednesday 14 February from 5 to 6.30pm in the Community Space, Third Floor, LSE Saw Swee Hock Building. Explore the full list of LSE events for the month here.
The first monograph by SM Rodriguez who is based in LSE’s Gender Department, The Economies of Queer Inclusion focuses on the relationships of power between transnational US LGBTQ+ activists and grassroots organisations in Uganda.
Cousens’ text is a key reading from the GI429: Archival Interventions course led by Clare Hemmings. It forms part of the readings on diversifying history and the nature and organisation of archives.
Gender Trouble is a classic text from the renowned philosopher who changed the discourse on gender. She will also be speaking at two upcoming events at LSE, Transnational anti-gender politics and resistance on 22 February and Who’s Afraid of Gender in March, a launch event for her latest book.
Foucault’s The History of Sexuality is another essential book on sexuality featuring on several LSE reading lists, including GI421, also taught by Clare Hemmings.
Foucault’s text broadened understanding of the different experiences of sexuality in different historical periods and the way it is socially constructed.
For more on LGBTQ+ early modern histories, this book is featured on the HY4B5: Queer early modernities course which provides insight into how “queerness” was understood and practiced in past centuries. This book is currently out of print but available from libraries.
I would recommend is this classic reader is ideal for those new to the subject area. It provides a good basic introduction to a range of approaches and features on many LSE reading lists. It contains 42 key essays across disciplines exploring a range of sexual, ethnic, racial, and socio-economic experiences.
Finally, a book not currently on a taught course reading list but which deserves to be is Clifford Williams’ Courage to Be. The author is a long-established visitor to the LSE and his research is based upon materials in LSE’s Hall Carpenter Archives.
It tells the inside story of groups set up to support and provide social opportunities for LGBT teenagers in London in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. You can find out more in this blog post, and I recommend watching this inspiring recording of an LSE event where the author introduces the book and shares insight on items from the archive.
Note: This reading list gives the views of the author and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics.