Tom Boellstorff is a good friend of mine from Nebraska and as long as I have known him he has been the living embodiment of SuperGenius.
Tom and I met when he was in high school senior and I was in my final university year. Tom wrote original music for many of my projects and his melodies and work ethic were incredibly valuable to the success of the project.
Part of Tom’s SuperGenius grew from musical composition and that training in leitmotivs and intricate chord structure translated into an adult love for scholarship at the Ph.D. level. Tom is currently an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine where his scholarly work inspires people across the world.
Speaking in Queer Tongues is a great book published by the University of Illinois Press and Tom is one of the book’s editors. Chapter 7, “Authentic, of Course!”: Gay Language in Indonesia and Cultures of Belonging was written by Tom and he kicks off the chapter with this rich description:
Imagine that you, the reader, spoke Indonesian and boarded a minibus with me one night to visit gay Indonesian men in the city of Surabaya in East Java.
Arriving at the Joyoboyo bus station, we leave the crowded terminal — an open space filled with more than a hundred minibuses — and walk down a narrow street that runs alongside the Brantas River, a still sweep of inky, fetid water winding to the sea on the north edge of town.
The chapter grows even better as Tom digs into the meaning of language and how it creates behavioral rules and regulates social codes. Princeton University Press will publish Tom’s new book The Gay Archipelago: Sexuality and Nation in Indonesia on November 18, 2005. You may pre-order the book right now on Amazon.com and the hardcover price is only $59.95.