Beth Charlton (UCL) - 2021-22 Students

Queer Women and Where to Find Them: An Intersectional History of Lesbian Space in London from the 1970s-1990s

Using space as an analytical and historical lens, my research will illuminate a wide range of commercial, public, private and domestic lesbian spaces in London from the 1970s to the 1990s. I will explore how these spaces impacted the formation of lesbian identities and communities, demonstrating how identity, community and space interacted with one another, both at a local and global level. I will consider how lesbian women and communities had an impact upon the formation of space itself; showing how lesbians took up space, what lesbian spaces consisted of, how these spaces varied across the lesbian communities of London and the impact this had on the queer geographies of London. Utilising a diverse range of primary materials, my project will highlight a larger array of lesbian spaces than have formerly been recognised by historians, and interact with a wider demographic of lesbians and queer women than have previously been surveyed. Ultimately, my doctoral research will present an intersectional history of lesbian space in London, that takes gender, class, age and race into consideration, resulting in a history that is representative of the diverse, transnational nature of London’s lesbian population and communities who occupied its spaces in the 1970s-1990s.

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