During the 1970s and 1980’s, a strand of thinking emerged that can be loosely categorized as “lesbian theory.” Building on the work of thinkers such as Adrienne Rich (poet), Bonnie Zimmerman (literary critics) and Sandra Gilbert/Susan Gubar (literary critics and famed authors of Madwoman in the Attic), the field addressed questions/issues such as the following: What makes a lesbian text? Is it the author, the audience, the characters? Can (and should) we separate cultural and political issues specific to lesbian identifying individuals from those who identify as GLBTQia+/queer? How about history in which lesbians are forefront (the trial of Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, for example, or Sylvia Beach’s time in an internment camp): are such events best understood as element of GLBTQiA+/Queer history? Or are they better separated? Maybe a bit of both?
While the field had its heyday a couple of decades ago, it continues to affect diversity studies today. In 2019, for instance, Clara Bradbury-Rance , in her book titled Lesbian Cinema After Queer Theory, wrote that “what we can now observe is a trajectory whereby lesbianism has been theorised, problematised, and then dissolved into Queer Theory’s new intellectual paradigm” (8). The resources on this page should help both with getting to know lesbian theory and reaching your own opinion on Bradbury-Rance’s claim: what are scholars and cultural figures in this field concerned about? Are those concerns specific only to lesbian-identified individuals? Or are they broader and more universal??