Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  David M. Halperin  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: 1952 in Chicago, Illinois

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Halperin was born in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

David M. Halperin is a theorist in the fields of gender studies, queer theory, critical theory, material culture and visual culture. He is the cofounder of ''GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies''.Currently, he is the WH Auden Distinguished University Professor of the History and Theory of Sexuality at the University of Michigan. His primary interests are the history and theory of homosexuality; classical studies and its relation to contemporary cultural history; gay men's cultural practices and subjectivity and HIV/AIDS. Along with the books he has written, he has also edited ''The Construction of Erotic Experience in the Ancient Greek World'' with John J. Winkler and Froma I. Zeitlin (1990), ''The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader'' with Henry Abelove and Michele Aina Barale (1993), ''Gay Shame'' with Valerie Traub (2009) and ''The War on Sex'' with Trevor Hoppe which is forthcoming.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Before Pastoral: Theocritus and the Ancient Tradition of Bucolic Poetry
ISBN: 0300025823

Yale University Press. 1983

One Hundred Years of Homosexuality: And Other Essays on Greek Love (New Ancient World Series)
ISBN: 0415900972

Routledge. 1989

Halperin's subject is the erotics of male culture in ancient Greece. Arguing that the modern concept of "homosexuality" is an inadequate tool for the interpretation of these features of sexual life in antiquity, Halperin offers an alternative account that accords greater prominence to the indigenous terms in which sexual experiences were constituted in the ancient Mediterranean world. Wittily and provocatively written, Halperin's meticulously drawn windows onto ancient sexuality give us a new meaning to the concept of "Greek love."

Saint Foucault : Towards a Gay Hagiography
ISBN: 0195111273

Oxford University Press. 1997

"Up to this year I have always felt that I had no particular call to meddle with this subject....But I feel now that the time is come when even a woman or a child who can speak a word for freedom and humanity is bound to speak." Thus did Harriet Beecher Stowe announce her decision to begin work on what would become one of the most influential novels ever written. The subject she had hesitated to "meddle with" was slavery, and the novel, of course, was Uncle Tom's Cabin. Still debated today for its portrayal of African Americans and its unresolved place in the literary canon, Stowe's best-known work was first published in weekly installments from June 5, 1851 to April 1, 1852. It caused such a stir in both the North and South, and even in Great Britain, that when Stowe met President Lincoln in 1862 he is said to have greeted her with the words, "So you are the little woman who wrote the book that created this great war!"
In this landmark book, the first full-scale biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe in over fifty years, Joan D. Hedrick tells the absorbing story of this gifted, complex, and contradictory woman. Hedrick takes readers into the multilayered world of nineteenth century morals and mores, exploring the influence of then-popular ideas of "true womanhood" on Stowe's upbringing as a member of the outspoken Beecher clan, and her eventful life as a writer and shaper of public opinion who was also a mother of seven. It offers a lively record of the flourishing parlor societies that launched and sustained Stowe throughout the 44 years of her career, and the harsh physical realities that governed so many women's lives. The epidemics, high infant mortality, and often disastrous medical practices of the day are portrayed in moving detail, against the backdrop of western expansion, and the great social upheaval accompanying the abolitionist movement and the entry of women into public life.
Here are Stowe's public triumphs, both before and after the Civil War, and the private tragedies that included the death of her adored eighteen month old son, the drowning of another son, and the alcohol and morphine addictions of two of her other children. The daughter, sister, and wife of prominent ministers, Stowe channeled her anguish and her ambition into a socially acceptable anger on behalf of others, transforming her private experience into powerful narratives that moved a nation.
Magisterial in its breadth and rich in detail, this definitive portrait explores the full measure of Harriet Beecher Stowe's life, and her contribution to American literature. Perceptive and engaging, it illuminates the career of a major writer during the transition of literature from an amateur pastime to a profession, and offers a fascinating look at the pains, pleasures, and accomplishments of women's lives in the last century.

How to Do the History of Homosexuality
ISBN: 0226314480

University of Chicago Press. 2004

In this long-awaited book, David M. Halperin revisits and refines the argument he put forward in his classic One Hundred Years of Homosexuality: that hetero- and homosexuality are not biologically constituted but are, instead, historically and culturally produced. How to Do the History of Homosexuality expands on this view, updates it, answers its critics, and makes greater allowance for continuities in the history of sexuality. Above all, Halperin offers a vigorous defense of the historicist approach to the construction of sexuality, an approach that sets a premium on the description of other societies in all their irreducible specificity and does not force them to fit our own conceptions of what sexuality is or ought to be.

Dealing both with male homosexuality and with lesbianism, this study imparts to the history of sexuality a renewed sense of adventure and daring. It recovers the radical design of Michel Foucault's epochal work, salvaging Foucault's insights from common misapprehensions and making them newly available to historians, so that they can once again provide a powerful impetus for innovation in the field. Far from having exhausted Foucault's revolutionary ideas, Halperin maintains that we have yet to come to terms with their startling implications. Exploring the broader significance of historicizing desire, Halperin questions the tendency among scholars to reduce the history of sexuality to a mere history of sexual classifications instead of a history of human subjectivity itself. Finally, in a theoretical tour de force, Halperin offers an altogether new strategy for approaching the history of homosexuality—one that can accommodate both ruptures and continuities, both identity and difference in sexual experiences across time and space.

Impassioned but judicious, controversial but deeply informed, How to Do the History of Homosexuality is a book rich in suggestive propositions as well as eye-opening details. It will prove to be essential reading for anyone interested in the history of sexuality.

What Do Gay Men Want?: An Essay on Sex, Risk, and Subjectivity
ISBN: 0472116223

University of Michigan Press. 2007

“Compelling, timely, and provocative. The writing is sleek and exhilarating. It doesn’t waste time telling us what it will do or what it has just done―it just does it.”
―Don Kulick, Professor of Anthropology, New York University

How we can talk about sex and risk in the age of barebacking―or condomless sex―without invoking the usual bogus and punitive clichés about gay men’s alleged low self-esteem, lack of self-control, and other psychological “deficits”? Are there queer alternatives to psychology for thinking about the inner life of homosexuality? What Do Gay Men Want? explores some of the possibilities.

Unlike most writers on the topic of gay men and risky sex, David Halperin liberates gay male subjectivity from psychology, demonstrating the insidious ways in which psychology’s defining opposition between the normal and the pathological subjects homosexuality to medical reasoning and revives a whole set of

unexamined moral assumptions about “good” sex and “bad” sex.

In particular, Halperin champions neglected traditions of queer thought, including both literary and popular discourses, by drawing on the work of well-known figures like Jean Genet and neglected ones like Marcel Jouhandeau. He shows how the long history of of gay men’s uses of “abjection” can offer an alternative, nonmoralistic model for thinking about gay male subjectivity, something which is urgently needed in the age of barebacking.

Anyone searching for nondisciplinary ways to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS among gay men―or interested in new modes of thinking about gay male subjectivity―should read this book.

David M. Halperin is W. H. Auden Collegiate Professor of the History and Theory of Sexuality, Professor of English, Professor of Women’s Studies, Professor of Comparative Literature, and Adjunct Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan.

How To Be Gay
ISBN: 0674283996

Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press. 2014

An analysis of gay male culture argues that there is more to homosexuality than the sexual and discusses the validity of popular stereotypes of gay men.


Awards

-- '''''The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader''''' -- *Lambda Literary Award for Anthologies