Dr Justin Bengry
Dr Justin Bengry convenes the MA Queer History, the first degree of its kind in the world, and is director of Goldsmiths’ Centre for Queer History. His research investigates relationships between homosexuality and capitalism, but his work also addresses current policy surrounding the UK’s ‘gay pardons’ and he has extensive public history experience. Dr Bengry’s work with Historic England that sought to record, preserve and celebrate the places of queer history in England was featured widely in the national and international press including the Guardian and New York Times. He regularly comments in the media on issues of queer history and the history of gender and sexuality and has been a historical adviser for the National Gallery and the Queer Britain museum and for television programmes that have aired on the BBC and Channel 4.
- PhD in History and Feminist Studies, University of California 2010
- MA in History, University of British Columbia 2004
- BMgt in Management, University of Lethbridge 2001
- BA in History and German, University of Lethbridge 2001
Teaching and Supervision
Dr Bengry’s upcoming book The Pink Pound: Capitalism and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century Britain is the first sustained and systematic historical study of the shifting relationship between the consumer economy and the social, cultural, and political formations of homosexuality in twentieth-century Britain. His study of homosexuality and capitalism explores what marketers have, since the 1990s, come to call the ‘pink pound’ or ‘pink economy,’ the economic power of gay men and lesbians. This research identifies the complex ways that marketers sought new markets, how sexual subcultures fashioned public and private identities using diverse goods and services, and in what ways particular understandings of homosexuality were ‘sold’ to mass markets at a critical historical moment.
He is also attentive to the need to expand queer histories to recognise the range of experiences outside London and for several years has been part of a team of historians who took part in the Queer Beyond London research project. QBL was the first project in the UK to look at queer history comparatively and used the cities of Brighton, Leeds, Plymouth and Manchester to investigate how queer lives and experiences are inflected by locality. Dr Bengry is currently co-editing both an edited collection and a sourcebook based on this project.
Publications and research outputs
Bengry, Justin; Cook, Matt and Oram, Alison, eds. 2022. Locating Queer Histories: Places and Traces across the UK. London: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9781350143722
Bengry, Justin. 2021. Can and should we queer the past? In: Helen Carr and Suzannah Lipscomb, eds. What is History, Now? How the Past and the Present Speak to Each Other. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, pp. 48-65. ISBN 9781474622455
Oram, Alison and Bengry, Justin. 2020. The LGBTQ Press in Twentieth-Century Britain and Ireland. In: Martin Conboy and Adrian Bingham, eds. The Edinburgh History of the British and Irish Press, Volume 3: Competition and Disruption, 1900–2017. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 480-498. ISBN 9781474424929
Bengry, Justin. 2015. Who is the Queer Consumer? Historical Perspectives on Capitalism and Homosexuality. In: Erika Rappaport; Sandra Trudgen Dawson and Mark J. Crowley, eds. Consuming Behaviours: Identity, Politics and Pleasure in Twentieth-Century Britain. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 21-36. ISBN 9780857857392
Bengry, Justin. 2013. Films and Filming: The Making of a Queer Marketplace in Pre-decriminalization Britain. In: Brian Lewis, ed. British Queer History: New Approaches and Perspectives. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 244-266. ISBN 978-0-7190-8894-0
Bengry, Justin. 2012. Queer Profits: Homosexual Scandal and the Origins of Legal Reform in Britain. In: Matt Cook and Heike Bauer, eds. Queer 1950s: Rethinking Sexuality in the Postwar Years. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 167-182. ISBN 978-0-230-30069-9
Bengry, Justin. 2022. Reflections on the criminalisation of sex between men in England and Wales. IPPR Progressive Review, 29(3-4), pp. 211-218. ISSN 2573-2323
Bengry, Justin. 2014. Profit (f)or the Public Good? Sensationalism, homosexuality, and the postwar popular press. Media History, 20(2), pp. 146-166. ISSN 0953-5233
Bengry, Justin. 2010. Peacock Revolution: Mainstreaming queer styles in post-war Britain, 1945-1967. Socialist History, 36, pp. 55-68. ISSN 0969-4331
Bengry, Justin. 2009. Courting the Pink Pound: Men Only and the Queer Consumer, 1935-39. History Workshop Journal, 68(1), pp. 122-148. ISSN 1363-3554
Bengry, Justin; Bevan, Robert and Morrice, Richard. 2016. Pride of Place: A Guide to Understanding and Protecting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Heritage. Historic England, September 2016, London.
Bengry, Justin. 2016. Conservative ‘Gay Pardon’ for the dead is a strategic distraction that harms the living.
Bengry, Justin. 2015. Why I Oppose a General Pardon for Historical Convictions for Homosexual Offences.
Bengry, Justin. 2015. The Case of the Sultry Mountie: Doing Family History Queerly.
Bengry, Justin and Merryman, Moilly. 2020. Queer Pandemic: Resilience in Times of Crisis.
Bengry, Justin. 2014 – Ongoing NOTCHES: (re)marks on the history of sexuality.
Bengry, Justin and Molly, Merryman. 2022. Queer Pandemic Exhibit. In: "We Are Queer Britain!", Queer Britain, London, United Kingdom, 20 July 2022 - 1 March 2023.
Further profile content
Dr Bengry was lead researcher on the Historic England initiative ‘Pride of Place: England’s LGBTQ Heritage’, which included a crowd-sourced map of LGBTQ heritage sites, new statutory listings, teaching resources for schools, and policy and research guides for the public and local authorities. The project was featured in all major UK media outlets including the BBC News and BBC World Service, The Guardian, The Times, and international media including The New York Times, Reuters and many others. The online exhibition at the Historic England website and interactive map remain active.
In 2014 Bengry co-founded the international history of sexuality blog ‘NOTCHES: (re)marks on the history of sexuality’ (Twitter: @NotchesBlog). NOTCHES’ is a leading voice in this dynamic field, cited by leading scholars, republished in the Huffington Post, Slate, the Boston Globe and translated for republication internationally. His own blog posts on queer family history and ‘gay pardons’ are used for teaching in the UK, US, and Canada.
Goldsmiths Research Centres/Groups
You're Dead to Me: LGBTQ History
From Molly Houses to secret diaries, discover the real-life stories that make up the history of the LGBT community. Greg is joined by comedian Suzie Ruffell and Dr Justin Bengry, historian.