The American Civil War : Censorship And The Passage Of Time

1603 Words7 Pages
The American Civil War has captured the popular imagination of the world for more than a hundred and fifty years. Academic scholars and neophyte history buffs alike have published thousands of books on the subject, adding to a growing canon of Civil War literature and knowledge. Little attention is paid, however, to the intimate personal lives and sexual intimacies of the people who lived during that crucial period in American history. Historians pay even less attention to those figures who existed on the borders of society, whose sexual lives were considered perverse, deviant, and pathological, identities and behaviors which may be called provisionally queer. Despite the dearth of available literature due to censorship and the passage of time, this period was characterized by flourishing deviant—and provisionally—queer sexuality. The unstable times, cultural changes, and political turmoil all lent themselves to a shift in discussions and understandings of sexuality. The Civil War remains a period of incredible upheaval that profoundly shaped culture and society. This period saw the reshaping of gender and sexuality norms while also instigating the codifying of existing gender-based oppression and violences (Bronsky, 81). While the lexicon of sexuality has changed in the intervening years, the Civil War (and the circumstances it produced) remains a condition of emergence of queer pre-history, as well as a crucial site for interpreting and reclaiming historical
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