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Queer Studies

Faculty Coordinators: Jonathan Katz (Art), Christine Varnado (Transnational Studies)

The first Queer Studies course was taught at UB in 1971, a mere two years after the Stonewall riots, and the university continues to have strengths in this field across the humanities disciplines. The longer-term goal of this Research Workshop is to found a doctoral program in Queer Studies at UB.

The workshop participants will convene monthly and work towards assessing key aspects of any such program, including the academic interests and needs of graduate students, areas of overlap in research interests among faculty, and operative models for Queer Studies nationally and internationally. In order to adjudicate the relationship between queer studies, queer student life, queer developent and fundraising, and queer general interest programs, we will seek speakers from institutions with models that weight these different aspects.


Fall 2016

Thursday, October 27, 2016, 2pm
CFA Screening Room

“Queering Dominican Frames: Performing Beyond the Local, Global, and Diaspora”

Maja Horn (Barnard College/Columbia University)

Co-sponsored by the Performance Research Workshop, Queer Studies Research Workshop and the Gender Institute, and part of Gender Week 2016:

Spring 2016

Wednesday, March 8
Amelia Jones

Fall 2015

Wednesday, October 6, 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center
Attila Richard Lukacs

Monday, October 12, 2pm
606 Clemens Hall
Ted Triandos

Monday, November 2
David Reyside, University of Toronto

Thursday, November 19, 2:30pm
606 Clemens Hall
Work in Progress
Stephanie Clare, UB Dept of Comparative Literature

“Finally, She’s Accepted Herself!”: Coming Out Narratives in Neoliberal Times.  In contemporary, transnational liberal contexts, the public expression of homophobia is increasingly viewed as “unenlightened,” but heteronormativity has certainly not disappeared. Drawing on a broad archive including TV shows, psychological studies, online blogs, and Broadway hits, this paper analyzes mainstream public responses to queerness. I trace how increasingly same-sex attraction is not pathologized, but any perceived lack of “self-acceptance” is. This trend, I argue, disavows the continued presence of heteronormativity and LBGT oppression and indexes widespread adherence to a neoliberal model of the self.

Stephanie Clare is an Assistant Professor in Comparative Literature. Her PhD is in Women’s and Gender Studies, and her research focuses on the relationship between embodied, sentient experience and twentieth-century cultural representations of gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity.

Monday, November 23, 2:30pm
606 Clemens Hall
Benjamin Kahan

“Ray Johnson’s Anti-Archive: Blackface, Sadomasochism, and the Racial and Sexual Imagination of Pop Art.”  My essay reconsiders the racial and sexual politics of Pop Art through the work of Ray Johnson. The first part of my essay revisits José Esteban Muñoz claim that “next to no people of color populate the world of Pop Art, as either producers or subjects. Representations of people of color are scarce and, more often than not, worn-out stereotypes.” Instead, I argue that “New York’s most famous unknown artist” Ray Johnson imagines Pop as an almost exclusively black art, one whose producers and subjects populate the world of Pop Art as a majority and utopically strive to eliminate the forces of racism. In particular, I attend to Johnson’s claim that his “rabbits and portraits” are in “blackface.” The second part argues that sadomasochism is a particularly important kind of blackface for Johnson (one enacted in the wearing of skin-like black leather). Following Elizabeth Freeman who argues that sadomasochism’s historical consciousness opens a space for reworking historical trauma, I argue that the explicitly sadomasochistic themes of Johnson’s work imagine a rebuttal to and reconfiguration of the racist exclusionary forces of the art world.

Monday, November 23, 4:30pm
306 Clemens Hall

Queer Studies Research Workshop, Modernisms Workshop, The Department of Art, and the Leslie Lohman Queer Art Lecture Series invited lecturer: Benjamin Kahan

“Toward an Etiological History of Modernist Sexuality,”  This presentation theorizes an etiological rather than an epistemological approach to the history of sexuality. In doing so, Kahan revisits two of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s axioms in Epistemology of the Closet: 1. her eschewal of etiological approaches to the history of sexuality and 2. her avoidance of the dating of the invention of homosexuality. Thinking through the problem space of these axioms, charting Sedgwick’s concerns and the potentialities of these terrains of inquiry, he contends that his historical etiological method enables us to approach the historiographical questions and impasses of the periodization of sexuality in new ways.

Benjamin Kahan is an Assistant Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at Louisiana State University. He has held postdoctoral fellowships at Washington University in St. Louis, Emory University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Sydney. His book Celibacies: American Modernism and Sexual Life was published by Duke University Press in 2013.

Tuesday, December 1, 7:00pm
B45 Center for the Arts

Queer Studies Research Workshop, Disabilities Studies Workshop, Department of Visual Studies, Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, Visual AIDS, UB Center for Disabilities Studies, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, WNY Pride Center, Gay and Lesbian Youth Services (GLYS), and UB Student Health Services :  World AIDS Day/Day With(out) Art

Radiant Presence: 2015’s event marks the 25th Anniversary of Electric Blanket, an epic slide show about AIDS which interspersed the work of over 200 photographers with slide texts that include demographics, data, and slogans about AIDS worldwide. Radiant Presence revisits this presentation with updated images and data.

Provoking conversations about HIV stigma, treatment and access to treatment, the multiple demographics of people living with HIV, and the work of artists impacted by and responding to HIV/AIDS, a panel discussion will follow the screening and will be moderated by Conor Moynihan, PhD student in Visual Studies, UB.

Panelists include:

Lawrence Brose, experimental film artist
Ally Day, PhD, Assistant Professor, Disability Studies Program, University of Toledo
Matthew Crehan Higgins, Senior Director, Pride Center of Western New York
Jeffrey M. Hutchins, Adult Health Nurse Practitioner, UB Student Health Services
Lance Rintamaki, PhD,Associate Professor, Department of Communications, UB

Spring 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 5:00pm
606 Clemens Hall
W. Dustin Parrott, UB English
“Is the Rectum a Womb? Bug-Chasing and New Futures: Queer Theory and the Death of a Way of Life”

Thursday, March 26, 12:00pm
606 Clemens Hall
Michael Boucai, UB Law School
“Glorious Precedents: When Gay Marriage was Radical”

Wednesday, April 8, 11:30am
606 Clemens Hall
Zach Blas, Art

Thursday, April 23, 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center
Heather Cassils
“The Body as Social Sculpture”

Fall 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 4:00pm
606 Clemens Hall
Jonathan Katz, Art
“Nude Ghosts: Allen Ginsberg, General Idea, and the Old New Queer”