Coming Out by Jeffrey Weeks. Homosexual Politics – A History

This book is a study of homosexual politics in Britain from the C19th to the 1970s. It was written by the historian, sociologist and gay activist Jeffrey Weeks.

Coming Out By Jeffrey Weeks

From the back cover of the book

“Coming Out records the growth of homosexual law reform from the development of harsh legal and social oppression in the late 19th century to the tremendous impact of the gay liberation movement today”

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The Chapters in the 1983 edition are as follows.

Part One: Definitions and Self Definitions

1. From Sin to Crime

2. The Medical Model

3.  A Way of Life

Part Two: Pioneers

4. Speaking Out: John Addington Symonds

5. Havelock Ellis and Sexual Inversion

6 Edward Carpenter and Friends

Part Three: Invisible Women

7. Lesbianism and the Position Of Women

8. Lesbianism and the Women’s Movement

9. Emerging Identities

Part Four: Approaches to Reform

10. Creating a Consciousness

11. Reform Societies

12. Homosexuality and the Left

13. Norman Haire and Sex Education

14. Prelude to Reform

15. Law Reform

Part Five: The Gay Liberation Movement

16. The Gay Liberation Front

17. A Gay Community

18. Old Ways, New Departures.

From the Introduction

“This book is intended as an exploration of a particular homosexual experience – that of reform groupings – but in pursuing this I hope to be able to offer some more general comments about the nature of the changing homosexual situation in Britain over the past 100 years:

Quotes from the back cover of the book

“This important book has a part to play in the revolutionary struggle by recognizing an oppressed minority and allying that fight against this oppression within the broader struggle against sexism” – Emmanuel Cooper. Morning Star.

“Jeffrey Weeks’s through, entertaining, and generally well written books surveys changing attitudes, and movements attempting to change them, over a century – Keith Walker New Society”





The New Matriarchy. Woman’s Legal Status in History

This book is a critique of the notion that patriarchy is somehow a “natural state of mankind.” It is also a history of woman’s legal place throughout history. It was published in 1965

The New Patriarchy

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From the preface

“…as historians probe back into the twilight period of pre-history, it is becoming accepted that an ancient matriarchy existed when women were both honoured and looked upon as the guiding element in society”.


From the forward

“When I began many years ago to write a short account of the legal position of women from Anglo-Saxon times to the present day, I had no intention of embarking on a wider field. Then someone said to me: “You know, the mere account of the legal position of women affords a very partial view of their actual status at any given period.” This I saw was particularly true in medieval times when the influence of tradition and custom did much to mitigate the position of subjection laid down by Common Law. Gradually I started to collect the material to place a social and economic study guide side by side with the legal one and, in doing so, to endeavour to give a more complete picture of the status of women. Circumstance intervened and the manuscript was forgotten for many years. During this time I had become greatly interested in the Science of Religion, a profound metaphysical  school of thought that bridges the material world of action to the immaterial world of idea. I realised that it is the thoughts of men and their philosophy of life which are the underlying causes of historical development. Thus eventually the present work emerged which views the subjection of women, and their emancipation, a part of the psychological development which cannot be shown without spanning the ages and placing it in the framework of an evolutionary process”.

Women and Work. Sheila Lewenhak

A study of women's status as workers
A study of women’s status as workers

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Women today are paid less and have lower status at work than men. In spite of legislation and pressure from the women’s movement, equality at work is still a remote possibility for most women – in the the West as much as in the third world.

Sheila Lewenhak’s controversial thesis is that it is only recently that women’s status as workers has declined. Drawing on a wide range of anthropological and historical evidence, she shows that in primitive societies women’s work was crucial to survival. Women controlled many of the key technological processes (Including the skills of early agriculture and pottery) and their position in society reflected their economic importance. With slavery, a slow decline set in, which continued through feudalism and merchant capitalism. Most recently, industrialization has dramatically reduced many women’s status, through education and demand for skilled labour have enabled to rise.

This re-examination of one of the most important aspects of women’s history casts new light on their present economic position as much as on their status in the past.

Sheila Lewenhawk was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and was educated at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she obtained her PH.D. She has lectured, on the history of women, at Durham, London and Strathclyde Universities and has travelled extensively including visits to North, Central and South America, the USSR and Japan.

During the 1960s Dr Lewenhak wrote economic and social history books for children. She is the author of Women and Trade Unions and has had many articles published.

The chapters in this books are as follows:

1. Hunters and Gatherers

2. Early Farmers and Herders

3. Decline of the Motherhood and Women’s Status

4. Slavery and Settled Farming

5. Towns and Specialization

6. Feudalism and Self-Employment

7. Women and Trade

8. Colonies, Population and Professional Work

9. The Industrial Revolution

10. The Spread of the Industrial Revolution Worldwide

11 Women’s Industrial Organization

12 The First World War and the Russian Revolution

13. Women Workers in Industrial Countries between the Wars

14. The Second World War and Post War Labour Shortage

15. Women Workers in Traditional Technologies

16. Women’s Liberation and New Technologies.