Lunchbox / Soapbox
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Homosexuality has become a faultline for debates about western influence and human rights. In his new book The End of the Homosexual? – part memoir, part politics – Dennis Altman connects what has happened within the changing queer world over the past 40 years to larger social, political and cultural trends.
In today’s Lunchbox/Soapbox, Altman reflects on decades of cultural and political change, both local and global, and considers the future of sexuality: is this the end of the homosexual that gay liberationists predicted 40 years ago?
Sometimes there’s nothing better than a good rant. Every Thursday, the Wheeler Centre hosts an old-fashioned Speakers’ Corner in the middle of the city, where writers and thinkers can have their say on the topics that won’t let them sleep at night.
Featuring some of our most compelling voices across just about every sector of human endeavour you can imagine, the themes dominating Lunchbox/Soapbox are proudly idiosyncratic. BYO lunch. Ideas provided.
Dennis Altman is professor of politics and director of the Institute for Human Security at LaTrobe University in Melbourne.
He is the son of Jewish refugees, and a writer and academic who first came to attention with the publication of his book Homosexual: Oppression & Liberation in 1972. This book, which has often been compared to Greer’s Female Eunuch and Singer’s Animal Liberation, was the first serious analysis to emerge from the gay liberation movement, and was published in seven countries, with a readership which continues today. (In 2012 University of Queensland Press issued a 40th anniversary edition, and an anthology based on the book, After Homosexual, was published in 2014.)
Since then, Altman has written 13 books exploring sexuality, politics and their interrelationships in Australia, the United States and now globally. These include The Homosexualization of America; AIDS and the New Puritanism; Rehearsals for Change; Gore Vidal’s America and Fifty First State?, as well as a novel (The Comfort of Men) and memoirs (Defying Gravity). His book Global Sex (Chicago U.P, 2001), has been translated into five languages including Spanish, Turkish and Japanese. Most recently has co-edited Why Human Security Matters (Allen & Unwin), Thinking Politically about HIV (Routledge) and How to Vote Progressive in Australia (Monash University Press). The End of the Homosexual? was published by UQP in 2013, and in 2016 Polity published Queer Wars (co-authored with Jonathan Symons).
We love exploring ideas at the Wheeler Centre, and encouraging others to do the same. That’s why every Thursday lunchtime we hand the microphone over to the great thinkers, dreamers and orators of our time.
With a dazzling range of passionate speakers and unusual topics, our soapbox provides a platform for the eclectic, topical and enlightening stories you won’t hear elsewhere. This is the most memorable lunch break you’ll have all week.
If you’re in need of sustenance of body as well as mind, the MOAT lunch cart will be serving delicious $10 lunchboxes in the Performance Space from 12.20pm.