chapter  18
Lesbian History
Spirals of Imagination, Marginalization, and Creation
ByJulie R. Enszer
Pages 13

Do lesbians have a history? During the twentieth century, authorized and unauthorized lesbian historians grappled with this question. Unauthorized lesbian histories emerged from imaginative writers and literary critics; authorized lesbian histories emerged from trained historians in the sub-disciplines of women’s history, LGBT history, and history of sexuality. Lesbian archives similarly emerged from institutional, community-based, and creatively-collected locations, providing a rich and capacious space to construct lesbian histories. The metaphor of a spiral links these different modes of history-making, elaborating various lesbian histories as collaborative projects that tell multiplicitous and polyvocal stories of lesbians and their histories.