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Academic Studies

Relatively little academic work has been done on the history, ethnology, and sociology of the various fetishistic, sadomasochistic, Leather, and BDSM subcultures. I have listed all of the dissertations and theses on these subjects that I have been able to find (please let me know if you are aware of others). It can often be difficult to get copies of them, but fortunately there is a resource that makes the process much easier - Dissertation Express. Remember to check with the Reference Librarian at your local library, too, since it is sometimes possible to get copies via Interlibrary Loan.


Dissertations and Theses


The Big List

If you only read one academic work on these topics, Robert Bienvenu's excellent dissertation The Development of Sadomasochism as a Cultural Style in the Twentieth-Century United States is the one I would recommend. It is the best introduction to the subject(s) that I have found, and makes for fascinating reading. Mr. Bienvenu will send you a link to download his dissertation if you contact him.


Papers


An interesting paper by Shaowen and Jeffrey Bardzell from Indiana University examines BDSM in the online game/social space Second Life. Sex-Interface-Aesthetics: The Docile Avatars and Embodied Pixels of Second Life BDSM to read the PDF version.


Archive and Library Finding Aids to Collections with Sadomasochistic Content


Collection: George Cecil Ives: An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Location: Univeristy of Texas, Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Notable item(s): The library catalog for the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology is organized alphabetically, first by title and then by author. The works represented in this catalog are in various languages and include topics such as homosexuality, flagellation, slavery, transvestism, prostitution, pornography, eunuchism, circumcision, and obscene literature.


Collection: Guide to the George Fisher Papers,1951-1990
Location: Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

Collection: Guide to the Heterosexual popular fiction collection, 1944-1992
Location: Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library


Collection: Radical Sex and Leather Collection Manuscript Group 1849
Location: Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, Manuscripts and Archives


Collection: Guide to the Miscellaneous popular fiction collection 1955-1992
Location: Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library


Collection: Guide to the National Socialist League Printed Miscellany, [ca. 1974-1984]
Location: Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library


Collection: Guide to the Wendell Ricketts Papers, ca. 1961-2004
Location: Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library


Collection: Guide to the Willie Walker Erotica Collection, 1924-2003
Location: The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society, San Francisco, California
Notable item(s): Numerous photos, illustrations, and other graphics related to leather sexuality.


Collection: Inventory of the Copy Berg Papers, 1890s-1998
Location: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division


Collection: Jonathan Ned Katz Papers, 1947-1995
Location: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division


Collection: Guide to David Pierce's Off Our Backs' Coverage of the Barnard Conference on Sexuality
Location: Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library


Collection: Plant (Richard) Papers, 1916-1998
Location: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division


Collection: Stambolian (George) Papers, 1955-1992
Location: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division
Notable item(s): The Politics of Sadomasochism. EEGO (East End Gay Organization).


Collection: Arnie Kantrowitz Papers, 1958-1995
Location: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division


Collection: Chicago Hellfire Club Periodicals
Location: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division


Collection: Texas Leather Lifestyle Periodicals
Location: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division


Collection: Larry Townsend Collection
Location: Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, Manuscripts and Archives


Collection: Physique Collection
Location: Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, Manuscripts and Archives


Collection: International Gay Information Center Archives: Ephemera - Bars
Location: Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, Manuscripts and Archives