Information on the “berdache”

October 21, 2017

To the student who requested a reading list on the history of “berdache” in anthropology:

This should be a good place to start.


Berdache Books

1986The Spirit and the Flesh : Sexual Diversity in American Indian Culture. Beacon Press, Boston
1987Gay Spirit: Myth and Meaning (1st ed.) St. Martin’s Press, New York.
1995Queer Spirits: A Gay Men's Myth Book. Roscoe, Will. Boston: Beacon Press
1997Two-spirit People : Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality. Edited by Jacobs, Sue-Ellen, Wesley Thomas, and Sabine Lang. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
1998Changing Ones: Third and Fourth Genders in Native North America. (1st ed.) Roscoe, Will. New York: St. Martin's Press
2006Becoming Two-Spirit: Gay Identity and Social Acceptance in Indian Country. Brian Joseph Gilley. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln


1937 Devereux, George. “Mohave Soul Concepts.” American Anthropologist 39(3).

1938. Hill, W W. “Note On The Pima Berdache.” American Anthropologist 40(2).

1953. Lurie, Nancy Oestreich. “Winnebago Berdache.” American Anthropologist 55(5).

1955. Angelino, Henry, and Charles L Shedd. “A Note on Berdache.” American Anthropologist  57(1).

1969. Munroe, Robert L, John W M Whiting, and David J Hally. “Institutionalized Male Transvestism and Sex Distinctions.” American Anthropologist 71(1).

1981. Whitehead, H. “The Bow and the Burden Strap: A New Look at Institutionalized Homosexuality in Native North America.” In Ortner & Whitehead (eds),  Sexual Meanings, pp. 80–115.

1998. Epple, Carolyn. “Coming to Terms with Navajo nádleehí­: A Critique of Berdache, ‘Gay,’ ‘Alternate Gender,’ and ‘Two-Spirit’.” American Ethnologist 25(2).

1998. Visweswaran, K. “‘Wild West’ Anthropology and the Disciplining of Gender.” In H Silverberg (ed), Gender and American Social Science: The Formative Years, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

2010. Gilley, Brian .J. “Native Sexual Inequalities: American Indian Cultural Conservative Homophobia and the Problem of Tradition.” Sexualities 13(1), pp. 47–68.

I will add to this over time. Thank you for asking!

Dr. White

©2017, C. Todd White


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