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Altman, Dennis (b. 1943)  
 
page: 1  2  3  

Although he continues to write about and visit the U.S., Altman has lately shifted his focus to Asia. In his autobiography Defying Gravity, Altman recollects the change of consciousness that he has lived through: "the creation of a 'gay nation' and the simultaneous re-imagination of Australia as a multicultural society which for some purposes is part of an equally re-imagined 'Asia'."

In the memoir, he also turns to the question of identity and how it is constantly interrogated: "All of us live with multiple identities. . . . How we imagine these varying and changing identities helps determine how well we manage to live together as a society." In a related vein, he is interested in "the ways in which 'communities' and 'nations' are constantly created and re-created through human imagination" and in "a recognition of the central importance of human agency and imagination in creating new concepts of who we are and in what sort of society we wish to live."

Sponsor Message.

In Global Sex, Altman investigates how globalization has changed how sex is understood, regulated, even practiced. The exportation of Western sexuality, he argues, has led to greater homogeneity, but at the expense of sexual inequality, exploitation, permissiveness, and, of course, AIDS.

He believes that, though desirable in the U.S., tolerance and difference may not play well in other corners of the world: "Globalization does not abolish difference as much as it redistributes it, so that certain styles and consumer fashions are internationalized while class divides are strengthened, often across national boundaries. The yuppie woman with her portable phone in Kuala Lumpur or São Paulo has more in common with her counterpart in Stuttgart or Minneapolis than do either with the rural or urban poor of their societies."

Altman's most recent book, 51st State?, focuses on Australian identity in a U.S.-dominated world. He fears that Australia has been so Americanized that it is in danger of "fast becoming America's 51st state." The (liberal) tendency to attribute malign American influence to everything we feel uncomfortable about in the contemporary world, Altman suggests, is the downside of seeing the U.S. as the only model worthy of emulation; this trend only conceals the deeper question Australians must face: how does Australia imagine its future?

Nikolai Endres

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    Bibliography
   

Altman, Dennis. "AIDS and the Reconceptualization of Homosexuality." Homosexuality, Which Homosexuality? International Conference on Lesbian and Gay Studies. Dennis Altman, Carole Vance, Martha Vicinus, Jeffrey Weeks, et al., eds. London: GMP Publishers, 1989. 35-48.

Brown, Stephen. "Defying Gravity: An Interview with Dennis Altman on the 30th Anniversary of Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation." Sexualities 3.1 (2000): 97-107.

Dessaix, Robert, ed. Speaking Their Minds: Intellectuals and the Public Culture in Australia. Sydney: ABC Books, 1998. 140-62.

Hurley, Michael. A Guide to Gay and Lesbian Writing in Australia. St Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin, 1996.

Reeves, Tim. "Altman, Dennis." Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day. Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon, eds. London: Routledge, 2001. 14-15.

Vidal, Gore. "Preface." The City and the Pillar and Seven Early Stories. New York: Random House, 1995. xi-xx.

Weeks, Jeffrey. "Dennis Altman and the Politics of (Homo)Sexual Liberation." Making Sexual History. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000. 75-85.

Wotherspoon, Garry. 'City of the Plain': History of a Gay Sub-Culture. Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1991.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Endres, Nikolai  
    Entry Title: Altman, Dennis  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2007  
    Date Last Updated February 13, 2007  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/altman_d.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2007 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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