Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Volume 5, Issue 2
spring 2015
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Moe Gardner
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

Yale LGBTS Research Fellowship:
Professor Victor Macías-González


I am honored to have been the inaugural recipient of the Yale LGBT Studies Research Fellowship.   Although my residency at Yale coincided with one of the worst bouts of weather, Timothy Young and the friendly staff at the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library arranged for my research materials to arrive promptly.   My visit coincided with the Queering Anthropology Conference and a number of other lectures that allowed me to interact with faculty, grad students, and other visiting scholars, who provided insight into LGBT history and materials at the Beinecke.  I’m especially thankful for a series of productive (and continuing) conversations with Stephen Vider, the Cassius Marcellus Clay Fellow in the History of Sexuality; Martin F. Malanansan IV, Associate Professor of Asian Studies, University of Illinois; and George Chauncey, Samuel Knight Professor of History & American Studies, Yale University.  Many thanks to the staff and faculty at Yale’s LGBT Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, especially Maureen Gardner, Linda Hase, Karen Nakamura, Heather Vermeulen, and Kathryn Lofton.  I also want to thank Pedro Regalado for making arrangements for me to spend time with students at La Casa, the Latina/o Cultural Center at Yale. 

My research at Yale forms part of my sabbatical research project on the influence of the American homophile movement on the development of same-sex-attracted middle- and upper-class culture in Mexico City ca. 1930-1970.  My subjects of study are middle- and upper-class same-sex-attracted bureaucrats, professionals, literati, and artists who used private spaces (especially couples’ homes) to develop alternative social practices, identity, and community to cope with police harassment and repression.  I also explore the role of Spanish republican exile publishers (and gay Spaniards) in the distribution, translation, and publication of American homophile literature, studying what Alison Sinclair has dubbed “the traffic of knowledge.”  I focus on a Spanish exile-owned publishing house and bookstore—EDIAPSA and Librería Cristal—which over the 1950s translated, published, and sold publications like Edward Sagarin’s The Homosexual in America, a Subjective Approach (1951), Alfred Kinsey’s books, and homophile publications from the U.S. and Western Europe such as One Magazine.   In the process, these books and ideas became adapted, abridged, and changed to suit local circumstances, particularly through the work of book reviewers and cultural critics who mainstreamed knowledge about homosexuality in the 1950s from their newspaper columns and literary magazines.   I want to understand how the ideas about homosexual relationships, identity, and especially domesticity may have been repurposed to function in the distinct social \ context of Mexico, where local same-sex-desiring men adjusted and improved upon these notions to advance their emerging community.  I’m interested in exploring the multiple points of entry by and encounter with homophile culture in Mexico City, to better understand the reception, propagation, adaptation, and function of homophile culture there.  

Preliminary findings confirmed my suspicion about the role of Spanish and American expatriates, sexiles, and tourists in the transmission of homophile ideals to Mexicans.  Four collections were especially fruitful—the Glenway Wescott Papers, 1900-1990, YCAL MSS 134; the Louise Crane (1913-1997) and Victoria Kent (1892-1987) Papers YCAL MSS 473; the Hart Crane Collection YCAL MSS 37; and the Witter Bynner Collection, YCAL MSS 558.   I also made a database of stories on Mexico, news items, and letters to the editor from Mexicans and other Latin Americans published in One Magazine (1953-1967).  Since visiting Yale, I’ve followed up on leads at Columbia University’s Butler Library and at the Houghton Library at Harvard, where there I located additional Hart Crane and Witter Bynner materials.   Additionally, I’ve made four presentations on my research at El Colegio de México and Museo del Estanquillo, in Mexico City, at the Benemérita Universidad de Puebla, and at Amherst College.   In the coming months, I hope to spend time at the ONE Archives at the University of Southern California.    I will continue to work on my book manuscript over the summer and fall.  

Víctor M. Macías-González is Professor of History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, where he directs a mentoring program for high-achieving, historically-underrepresented sophomore students in the arts and humanities.  Macías-González, a native of El Paso, Texas, received his doctorate in Latin American History and Letters from Texas Christian University in 1999.   He has been at La Crosse since 2000.  His research interests include masculinity and homosexuality in modern Mexico.  He has published over a dozen articles and book chapters on manuals of etiquette, consumption, paintings, interior decoration, diplomacy, the Mexican colony in Paris, and Mexican students in British boarding schools.   Macías-González has coedited, with Anne Rubenstein, Masculinity and Sexuality in Modern Mexico (University of New Mexico Press, 2012). In 2013, Macías-González was named Wisconsin U.S. Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and in 2015 received the University of Wisconsin System’s Regents Diversity prize for his efforts to close the achievement gap and community outreach.

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