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In a New Century
Essays on Queer History, Politics, and Community Life
John D’Emilio

Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians
Best Special Interest Books, selected by the Public Library Reviewers

“John D’Emilio has done it again. These captivating essays by one of our most illustrious historians and scholar-activists connect past to present in a way that helps us to think about and work toward a more just future.”
—Leila J. Rupp, author of Sapphistries: A Global History of Love between Women

For gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the United States, the twenty-first century has brought dramatic changes: the end of sodomy laws, the elimination of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a move toward recognition of same-sex marriage, Gay-Straight Alliances in thousands of high schools, and an explosion of visibility in the media and popular culture. All of this would have been unimaginable to those living just a few decades ago. Yet, at the same time, the American political system has grown ever more conservative, and increasing economic inequality has been a defining feature of the new century.

A pioneering scholar of gay history, John D’Emilio reflects in this wide-ranging collection of essays upon the social, cultural, and political changes provoked by LGBT activism. He offers provocative questions and historical analyses: What can we learn from a life-long activist like Bayard Rustin, who questioned the wisdom of “identity politics”? Was Richard Nixon a “gay liberationist”? How can knowing local stories—like those of Chicago in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s—help build stronger communities and enrich traditions of activism? Might the focus on achieving actually be evidence of growing conservatism in LGBT communities?

In a New Century provides a dynamic, thoughtful, and important resource for identifying changes that have occurred in the United States since 1960, taking stock of the work that still needs to be done, and issuing an urgent call to action for getting there.


John D’Emilio. Photo credit: Burke David.John D’Emilio is a professor of gender and women’s studies and of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author and editor of more than half a dozen books, including Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities; Intimate Matters; The World Turned; and Lost Prophet, a National Book Award finalist.






“D'Emilio dissects aspects of gay rights victories of the last few years, but is equally illuminating about the pre-stonewall activism of pioneers.”

“Covers the history of the LGBT community from closeted and persecuted to visible and legally empowered. The rise of the civil rights and women's liberation movements are also chronicled in this academically challenging yet easy-to-read book.”
Foreword Reviews

“A collection from one of the finest, most thoughtful historians of gay and lesbian social history.”
David Bergman, editor of Gay American Autobiography


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In a New Century

May 2014
LC: 2013033118 HQ
282 pp.   6 x 9  

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ISBN 978-0-299-29774-9
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ISBN 978-0-299-29773-2
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