Trumbach, Randolph Earl 1944-
TRUMBACH, Randolph Earl 1944-
Born December 6, 1944 in Belize City, Belize; immigrated to the United States in 1957, naturalized citizen; son of Cecil Alvan (an accountant) and Blanche Marie (a homemaker; maiden name, Avery) Trumbach. Education: University of New Orleans, B.A., 1964; Johns Hopkins University, M.A., 1966, Ph.D., 1972. Politics: Liberal Democrat. Religion: Episcopalian. Hobbies and other interests: Opera, ballet, painting.
Home—175 West 12th St., Apt. 11B, New York, NY 10011-8211. Office—Department of History, Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, Baruch College, City University of New York, 17 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10010-5526. E-mail—[email protected]
Baruch College, City University of New York, assistant professor, 1973-78, associate professor 1979-1984, professor of history, 1985—, professor at graduate school, 1995—. Adjunct professor, Columbia University, 1991; visiting professor, University of Amsterdam, 1993. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, advisory board, 1993—.
American Historical Association (committee on lesbian and gay history), American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (Gottschalk prize committee, 1995-96), Conference on British Studies, Social Science and History Association, Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Northeast American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (executive committee, 1979-85, program committee, 1994, president, 1998-99), New York State Association of European Historians (executive committee, 1984-87).
City University of New York research awards, 1973-74 and 1977-80; fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1979; Woodrow Wilson fellow.
The Rise of the Egalitarian Family: Aristocratic Kinship and Domestic Relations in Eighteenth-Century England, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1978.
(Editor) Marriage, Sex and the Family in England, 1660-1800 (44 volumes), Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1984–86.
Sex and the Gender Revolution: Volume 1: Heterosexuality and the Third Gender in Enlightenment London, Volume 2: The Origins of Modern Homosexuality, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1998.
Contributor to books, including 'Tis Nature's Fault: Unauthorized Sexuality during the Enlightenment, edited by R. P. Maccubbin, Cambridge University Press, 1987; The Pursuit of Sodomy: Male Homosexuality in Renaissance and Enlightenment Europe, edited by Kent Gerard and Gert Hekma, Haworth Press, 1988; Homosexuality, Which Homosexuality? Essays from the International Scientific Conference on Lesbian and Gay Studies, edited by Anja Van Kooten and others, GMP Publishers (London, England), 1989: Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past, edited by Martin Duberman and others, New American Library, 1989; History of Homosexuality in Europe and America, edited by Wayne Dynes and Stephen Donaldson, Garland Publishing, 1992; Third Sex/Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History, edited by Gilbert Herdt, Zone Books, 1994; and Queer Sites: Gay Urban Histories Since 1600, edited by David Higgs, Routledge, 1999. Contributor of articles on sexuality to scholarly journals, including Journal of Social History, Annals of Scholarship, and Historical Reflections. Contributor of book reviews to periodicals, including Science and Society, American Historical Review, Journal ofInterdisciplinary History, Albion, and the Historian. Associate editor, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 1989-1993, 1996-1998; advisory editor, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 1998-2001. Member of the editorial boards of Eighteenth-Century Life, 1984—; Journal of Homosexuality, 1988—; Perversions, 1994-1997; Journal of Family History, 1996—.
Randolph Earl Trumbach, associate professor of history at Baruch College, City University of New York, specializes in English social history and history of the family, sex, and religion. His books and articles have focused on sexuality and on English society in the eighteenth century.
The Rise of the Egalitarian Family: Aristocratic Kinship and Domestic Relations in Eighteenth-Century England, a book that explores kinship and domestic patterns among the English aristocracy during the 1700s, argues that a major shift occurred in English society at the end of the seventeenth century. In exploring such topics as inheritance customs, marriage, birth and child rearing practices, the nuclear family, education, and the relationship between master and servant, Trumbach shows that the patriarchal models that had been the foundation of these structures since the eleventh century gave way by 1700 to relationships based on kinship and domesticity. According to Henry Horwitz, writing for the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, "Trumbach offers a suggestive, if speculative, interpretation of the societal forces that caused the decline of patriarchy and the rise of egalitarianism within the aristocratic family." Horwitz praised Trumbach's "explicit and controlled use… of social science concepts and theories." In the American Historical Review, Lawrence Stone praised Trumbach's "success in digging out the materials and analyzing facts of so momentous a change in the history of the aristocratic family." Even reviewers that were predominantly critical of the text conceded that, despite its weaknesses, Trumbach's book covered some new material and offered a fresh viewpoint.
Trumbach's book Sex and the Gender Revolution presents a theory of how heterosexual identity was created in England in the eighteenth century. Trumbach argues that, before this time, London men often engaged in sexual relations with both boys and women, but that most men made their behavior strictly heterosexual after the appearance of the "Molly," a man interested only in sex with other men. Trumbach further argues that this new heterosexual identity was a primary cause of prostitution. "Trumbach's outsider position lets him take nothing for granted," praised Emma Donoghue in Lambda Book Report. She continued, "Feminist in the best sense, he pays close attention to the social formation of gender roles, and is unflinchingly honest about abuses of male power." W. F. Bynum, writing for Nature, noted, "Through the subtlety of his analyses and the elegance of his prose, Trumbach has reached new heights in the study of historical sexuality. He has an impressive mastery of his material… and an intimate knowledge of the geography and social history of eighteenth-century London." Spectator critic Lucy Moore praised the "breadth and detail of Trumbach's research," and a writer for Kirkus Reviews called it "a study full of insights." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly found Trumbach's thesis poorly argued, however, writing, "Trumbach never quite makes the abundance of evidence he marshals speak for this theory." Other reviewers did not find the book flawed in such a way, and as Choice reviewer B. R. Burg put it, "Those who have waited long for the appearance of Trumbach's book will not be disappointed."
Trumbach has also contributed essays on the topic of homosexuality to several books. Among his contributions is an essay in 'Tis Nature's Fault: Unauthorized Sexuality during the Enlightenment, in which Trumbach explores the history of homosexuality, basing his research on critical examination of court records and trial transcripts relating to sodomy from the time of the Enlightenment. Cissie Fairchilds, reviewing the book in the American Historical Review, called Trumbach's essay "an excellent survey of the recent historical work on male homosexuality." Trumbach claims that prior to the seventeenth century male homosexuals engaged in heterosexual practices, such as marriage, and were not seen as having a lifestyle separate from other men. In the seventeenth century, however, the concept and practice of homosexuality underwent a change. A rise in the prosecution of sodomy as a crime occurred, and along with this the concept that homosexuals had sexual desire only for other men. Researchers believe that a distinctive underground subculture of sodomites may have developed.
Homosexuality, Which Homosexuality? Essays from the International Scientific Conference on Lesbian and Gay Studies, is an anthology of fourteen papers given at a December 1987 conference in Amsterdam which focused on the "constructionist" and the "essentialist" debate that arose in gay and lesbian studies in the 1980s. Constructionists believe that the sexuality of all individuals changes depending on concurrent historical, economic, religious, and cultural structures. Essentialists see homosexuals as separate beings characteristic of the gay population as a whole. Trumbach's essay claims that from the twelfth through the seventeenth centuries there existed a culture of sodomite men who had sex with boys and men, but in the seventeenth century this behavior became associated with effeminacy. According to Ken Plummer in Theory, Culture & Society Trumbach's theory that homosexuality "came to be linked to 'transvestite' experiences of cross dressing—an image of some men as effeminate and somehow linked to femininity or a third sex which has lingered into the modern gay role… is clearly evidenced in much of the modern research." According to Trumbach, homosexuals were seen as belonging to a separate deviant gender, different from dominant males, and subject to contempt by the rest of society. Susan K. Cahn, writing in Feminist Studies, called Trumbach's essay "fascinating in its attempt to relate the histories of modern homosexuality and patriarchy and should spark more research on this question."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Directory of American Scholars, Volume 1: History, R.R. Bowker Co. (New York, NY), 1982.
American Historical Review, Volume 84, number 2, April, 1979, Lawrence Stone, review of The Rise of the Egalitarian Family: Aristocratic Kinship and Domestic Relations, pp. 456-457; Volume 94, number 5, December, 1989, Cissie Fairchilds, review of 'Tis Nature's Fault: Unauthorized Sexuality during the Enlightenment, pp. 1333-1334.
Choice, July-August, 1999, B. R. Burg, review of Sex and the Gender Revolution, Volume I: Heterosexuality and the Third Gender in Enlightenment London, p. 2008.
Contemporary Sociology, July, 1979, p. 585.
English Historical Review, April, 1980, pp. 426-427.
Feminist Studies, Volume 18, 1992, Susan K. Cahn, "Sexual Histories, Sexual Politics," pp. 629-647.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Volume 10, 1979, Henry Horwitz, review of The Rise of the Egalitarian Family: Aristocratic Kinship and Domestic Relations, pp. 342-344.
Journal of Social History, Volume 14, 1981, David Levine, review of The Rise of the Egalitarian Family: Aristocratic Kinship and Domestic Relations, pp. 495-497; Volume 27, number 4, summer, 1994, Mary Lindemann, review of Forbidden History: The State, Society, and the Regulation of Sexuality in Modern Europe, p. 885.
Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 1998, review of Sex and the Gender Revolution, Volume I: Heterosexuality and the Third Gender in Enlightenment London.
Lambda Book Report, December, 1998, Emma Donoghue, review of Sex and the Gender Revolution, Volume I: Heterosexuality and the Third Gender in Enlightenment London.
Nature, April 29, 1999, W. F. Bynum, "Shady Secrets of the Enlightenment."
Publishers Weekly, November 2, 1998, review of Sex and the Gender Revolution, Volume I: Heterosexuality and the Third Gender in Enlightenment London, p. 64.
Spectator, April 10, 1999, Lucy Moore, "The Gaiety of the Lower Classes."
Theory, Culture, & Society, Volume 8, 1991, Ken Plummer, review of Homosexuality, Which Homosexuality? Essays from the International Scientific Conference on Lesbian and Gay Studies, pp. 511-512.
Times Literary Supplement, July 22-28, 1988, Elaine Showalter, "Mastery of the Roles," p. 812.*