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Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, Northwestern University, Fall 2016

Bea Cordelia

(GSS/Theatre ‘15)

returns to discuss trans activism & politics Jennifer Nash joins GSS GSS welcomes Gayle Rubin for SPAN workshop keynote address

DIRECTOR’S NOT E The biggest news this year is the triumphant completion of our search for a new core faculty member; we are delighted to welcome outstanding feminist scholar, Jennifer Nash, to the GSS program. Dr. Nash’s first book, The Black Body in Ecstasy, is a landmark study that overturns existing assumptions and re-writes black feminism’s relationship to representation; and as we learned from her dazzling lecture here last fall, her new project on the history of academic feminist thought promises to be just as significant. Her work exemplifies our commitment to excellence in the study of both gender and sexuality, and we look forward to spring 2017, when Dr. Nash will offer her first course for the program. Also noteworthy is our continued success in garnering teaching awards, which were won by no fewer than three of our faculty: Héctor Carrillo, Helen Thompson, and Jillana Enteen. Congratulations!! We also note that Dr. Aaron Norton, whom many of you know from his outstanding work and collegial presence as a SPAN Postdoctoral Fellow during the last two years, has joined us this year as a Visiting Assistant Professor in GSS and Sociology. We are also delighted to welcome Dr. Lashonda Barnett, visiting assistant professor in GSS and African-American Studies. In closing, I will just mention two more stellar accomplishments. The first is this year’s SPAN reading group, which for the first time involved faculty from the Feinberg School of Medicine as well as from Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Finally, I wish to acknowledge staff member Jasmine Tucker’s initiative in outreach to our alumni. We recently welcomed back one of those alums, Bea Cordelia, for her lecture/performance, “The Revolution Onstage.”

The Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at Northwestern is an interdisciplinary program, with faculty affiliates drawn from more than 25 departments across four of the University’s schools. 1800 Sherman, 4th FL. Evanston, IL 60201 Phone: 847.491.5871 Email: Web: Director: Mary Weismantel (2015-2016);Jan Radway (2016-2017) Associate Director/DUS: Amy Partridge Program Assistants: Jasmine Tucker & Eliot Colin Newsletter Design: Bailey Williams


The Gender & Sexuality Studies Advisory Board Kate Baldwin (American Studies/Communication Studies) Héctor Carrillo (Gender & Sexuality Studies/Sociology) Nick Davis (Gender & Sexuality Studies/English) Mary G. Dietz (Gender & Sexuality Studies/Political Science) Ryan Dohoney (Musicology) Jillana Enteen (Gender & Sexuality Studies) Kasey Evans (English) E. Patrick Johnson (Performance Studies/African American Studies) Tessie Liu (History) Jeffrey Masten (English) Amy Partridge (Gender & Sexuality Studies) Gregory Ward (Linguistics/Philosophy) Paola Zamperini (Asian Languages & Cultures)

Fundraising campaign for undergraduate research The Gender and Sexuality Studies Program is pleased to announce a new fund-raising initiative. We are establishing two new programs to provide small grants to our undergraduates for summer research. One will fund research projects that address women’s, feminist, or gender issues; the other will fund research projects that address LGBT or sexuality issues. (We hope to receive many applications from students with projects that qualify as both!) We need your help to fund this initiative, which is entirely supported by donations from our friends, family and alums. Gifts of any amount are appreciated; please help support one of our wonderful students next summer. Substantial or recurring donations may result in a named award. Please send donations to: Gender and Sexuality Studies Program Northwestern University 1800 Sherman, 4th FL. Evanston, IL 60201.

CONT ENTS SPAN Post Doc Kai M. Green’s “Theorizing Blackness: Freedom Dreams, Afro-futures, and Visionary Fictions” Class Photo



3 Q&A: Jennifer Nash joins Gender &

6 Gayle Rubin keynote speaker for SPAN

4 Q&A: Helen Thompson wins the E. LeRoy

7 SPAN Workshop

Sexuality Studies

Hall Award for Excellence in Teaching

5 Cora Kaplan gives guest lecture, Faculty

8 SPAN Workshop

Updates and Awards


10 Black Feminist Futures Conference 11 Introduing the new 2016-2017 TAs 12 Graduate Student Updates

UNDERGRADUATE 13 Study Abroad Testimonials 14 GSS 2015-2016 Thesis Students 15 Alum Bea Cordelia returns to GSS for performance and talk





By Bailey Williams

Q: How do feel about joining the Gender & Sexualities program at Northwestern?

A: I’m thrilled, excited, and elated to be part of the program! Q: What aspects of the Gender & Sexualities program excite you the most?

A: I’m excited to be part of a program that is deeply invested in studying gender alongside race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and nation. Though much of my own research thinks critically about the rise of intersectionality to the center of the discipline, I am deeply invested in an approach to pedagogy and program-building that necessarily considers gender alongside other structures of domination and identity categories. Q: What do you hope to contribute to the program? 

A: The most exciting aspect of joining a vibrant program is learning and growing from your colleagues and students. While I come to the program with an interest in black feminisms, black sexualities, race and law, and visual culture, I expect my interests will continue to unfold and to change.  I look forward to offering courses in my areas of expertise, and to having those areas of expertise continue to develop and shift as I learn from those around me. Q: Your work has focused on black feminism, black sexual politics, visual culture, and the law amongst other things. What led you to pursue these topics?


A: As a first year college student, I signed up for a course entitled “Women, Feminism, and History” on a whim. The very first day we read the following.  “WOMANIST 1. From womanish. (Opp. of “girlish,” i.e. frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.) A black feminist or feminist of color. From the black folk expression of mothers to female children, “you acting womanish,” i.e., like a woman. Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior. Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered “good” for one. Interested in grown up doings. Acting grown up. Being grown up. Interchangeable with another black folk expression: “You trying to be grown.” Responsible. In charge. Serious.”  When I read those sentences -- Alice Walker’s poetic, politically bold, theoretically sophisticated definition of womanism -- I felt, simply, “Yes!”  

As an undergraduate women’s studies major, I was introduced to a body of work -- an intellectual tradition -produced by women of color. For me, this encounter was nothing short of transformative.   It was an encounter that fundamentally altered my creative, personal, intellectual, and political energies, and set me on the path I’ve been on ever since.  Q: How do the topics you study speak to our current historical landscape? In other words, why are the topics you study timely or relevant to current discussions within and about U.S. culture? 

A: Black sexuality is politicized terrain, and it always has been. My own work tries to consider the ways that black sexuality has been policed, regulated, demonized, and pathologized,and to examine how black bodies - particularly black female bodies - have responded to that regulation.  In my most recent work, an article that came out in the summer issue of Signs, I think about those questions through the figure of Rachel Jeantel, one of the witnesses who testified on behalf of the state in the George Zimmerman trial.  I was - and still am - fascinated by all of the ways Jeantel’s sexuality - and her refusal to perform certain kinds of respectability - came to animate the trial. Q: What are your short and long term goals in joining the gender & sexualities program at Northwestern? 

A: In the short term, I’m looking forward to finishing my current book project (Black Feminism Remixed), teaching new courses, and participating in the intellectual life of the program.  In the long term, I’m looking forward to having the questions that I ask -and the answers that I find to those questions - transformed by my colleagues and students.




By Bailey Williams

Helen Thompson is an associate professor of English and the director of graduate studies in English. Her primary classes with Gender and Sexuality Studies program are “Utopian and Dystopian Sci-Fi of the Second Wave” and “Feminism as Cultural Critique: The Second Wave.” In May 2016, Thompson won the E. LeRoy Hall Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences for the academic year 2015-2016. This interview was conducted prior to her receiving the award. Q: Can you tell me about your trajectory towards teaching in English and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Northwestern? A: Thank you for asking. I originally came to Gender Studies through the 18th century. I was also teaching one of the required core courses in the GSS rubric, and that allowed me to teach Freud and people like Carol Clover on horror movies. I was working on narrative and performance, which also involved film, but I didn’t really have a focused investment in any particular feminist movement historically. Actually what changed that was I was doing research in Paris, eight years ago now. And went to see this show at the Modern Art Museum, the Pompidou Center, called “Elles at Pompidou,” which was all of their…just all the work by women that they actually had in the museum. This was around the time of the big WACK! Exhibit. It was just mind-blowing. The whole museum was filled with women’s art, modern women’s art. I was really blown away by the second-wave art, and it was actually that that got me interested in wanting to teach a course on representations in that period. That was what really got me into the second wave, and sort of launched me in this direction. Q: How long have you been teaching in total and also at Northwestern? A: If I’m counting grad school, amazingly like 20 years since the very beginning of grad school…but at Northwestern I’ve been teaching since 2000. So a pretty long time. But I think I’ve only been teaching the second-wave maybe six years. I think there’ve been four iterations of “Feminism as Cultural Critique: The Second Wave” and two iterations of the sci-fi class “Utopian and Dystopian Sci-Fi of the Second Wave.” Q: What do you like best about teaching? Did you always think you would teach college students? Definitely not. I actually thought I was going into science for awhile and did a science major, and then when it became clear

I probably wasn’t going to be a research scientist I did environmental work. Actually after college, I worked for a nonprofit and then I worked for the EPA. Teaching was not my central ambition. I got a masters in science writing at John Hopkins and took a course with Judy Butler and she was completely inspiring and definitely affirmed that—cause I’d done a double English and science major—that I wanted to get a PH.D. in English. I mean teaching…I immediately realized I liked it, but it was not the primary motivation for doing this. Q: Do you have a favorite course you teach? If so, why is it your favorite?

A: I really do love the second-wave

lecture. I don’t know if it’s my complete favorite. I do really enjoy the material and the fact that it’s so topical and it’s sort of feels topical to not everyone who takes it but many people who take the class. I enjoy that there’s not really a standard history of the second wave, so the course is very much of my own making, and whenever I do it next, which won’t be next year actually, I really keep wanting to overhaul it pretty radically to reflect the diversity of the movement, which I think we tend to lose sight of. Q: What do you find most inspiring about the gender & sexuality studies students you teach? A: I would say that the political convictions that they bring to the material, and their willingness…particularly the second-wave and the utopian sci-fi course I teach, it’s easy to make fun of activist movements that have strong visions for change. It’s very easy to not take it seriously or to be sort of cynical and I’m just very impressed by how far along the gender & sexuality students are willing to pursue these ideas and how much respect they are willing to give them, and just how much kind of passion and creativity they bring. I’m always learning from them too. Q: Besides teaching, what other projects or writings are you working on? A: I just finished a book that’s coming out in January. I’m still dealing with the copy edits. I guess that counts as still working on it. It’s 18th century chemistry and matter theory and novelistic representation, which does have a feminist investment. I’m really interested in telling a story about science and matter that is not quite so polarized a story about mind and body, one that might offer us a slightly different access to thinking about materiality as not completely constitutively opposed to mind in this period and is not so reductionist. I want to keep working on the history of science.


KREEGER WOLF LECTURE CORA KAPLAN ON Queering the Memoir Cora Kaplan, Honorary Professor of English at Queen Mary University of London and Emerita Professor of English at University of Southampton, gave a talk entitled “Life Writing to Watch Out For: Queering the Memoir from Harriet Martineau to Alison Bechdel” last Fall Quarter. Beginning with an account of second wave feminists’ experiments with life writing as a form through which to develop a new kind of social and sexual politics, Kaplan then turned to the work of Harriet Martineau, 19th century British writer and political campaigner, and Alison Bechdel, 20th century American graphic novelist, to explore the modern origins, evolution and current state of women’s life writing. This event inaugurated the annual Alex Owen Lecture in Gender & Sexuality Studies and was funded by the Edith Kreeger Wolf Endowment, which funds events that highlight women scholars and public figures.



Linda Austern (Musicology) published “’The Mystic Pow’r of Music’s Unison’: The Conjuncture of Word, Music, and Performance Practice in the Era of Katherine Philips,” in The Noble Flame of Katherine Philips: A Poetics of Culture, Politics and Friendship (Duquesne University Press, 2015) and “‘Wistocie kobietami one nie sa: chłopiec na scenie jako wokalna uwodzicielka w teatrze angielskim końca szesnastego i początku siedemnastego wieku,’ excerpt and Polish translation of “’No Women are Indeed’: The Boy Actor as Vocal Seductress in English Renaissance Drama” in Teatrelzbietanski (U of Warsaw Press, 2015), originally published in Embodied Voices (Oxford University Press, 1994). She also lectured on “Anne Boleyn, Musician: A Romance Across Centuries and Media” at the University of Toronto Center for Reformation and Renaissance Studies in September 2015 and on “Domestic Music-Making as a Single-Sex Activity in Elizabethan and Jacobean England” at the 2016 Renaissance Society of America annual national meeting in Boston. Kate Baldwin (Communication Studies/American Studies) published The Racial Imaginary of the Cold War Kitchen: From Sokol’niki Park to Chicago’s South Side (University Press of New England, 2016), “The Radical Imaginary of The Bell Jar,” reprinted in Bloom’s Guides: Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar (Chelsea House) and “One Thing the Military Gets Right: Child Care,” in Quartz, March 26, 2015 (http:// Hector Carrillo (Sociology/GSS) was selected to be a fellow at the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities in 2016-17. He published an article on male heteroflexibilities in Global Public Health, and has a second article forthcoming in the journal Sexualities. His co-authored book chapter “Revisiting Activos and Pasivos: Towards New Cartographies of Latino/Latin American Male Same-Sex Desire” was translated into Spanish and published in the edited volume Sexualidades Latinas en Estados Unidos. Prof. Carrillo also gave presentations at the University of North Carolina, the Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science, and the American Sociological Association Meeting. Huey Copeland (Art History) assumed the post of Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in The Graduate School last September, while continuing to work as a mentor and scholar including lecturing from his new manuscript, In the Shadow of the Negress: A Brief History of Modern Artistic Practice, at Columbia University in New York. Ryan Dohoney (Musicology) published “A flexible musical identity: Julius Eastman in New York City” in Gay Guerrilla: The Life and Music of Julius Eastman (University of Rochester Press, 2015) and “Echo’s echo: Subjectivity in Vibrational Ontology” in the journal Women and Music. Alice Eagly (Psychology) delivered the Carl Hovland Lecture for the Department of Psychology at Yale University and published “Two traditions of research on gender identity” in Sex Life, “A sociocultural framework for understanding partner preferences of women and men: Integration of concepts and evidence” in European Review of Social Psychology, and “When passionate advocates meet research on diversity, does the honest broker stand a chance?” in Journal of Social Issues.

Jillana Enteen (Gender & Sexuality Studies) published her second manuscript, Import/Export: Thai English as Transnational Sexuality Studies (Onyx, 2015). She received a Hewlett Curricular Fellowship and once again co-convened NUDHL, the Kaplan Humanities-based Northwestern Digital Humanities Lab, received an URAP grant and served as a faculty mentor to a Posner Fellow. Steve Epstein (Sociology) was a Faculty Fellow at the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities in 2015-16. This year he is on sabbatical leave while a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. His recent publications include “Studying Science and Social Inequalities: Resurgences and Divergences” (in Spontaneous Generations); “A New Sexual Politics of Cancer: Oncoviruses, Disease Prevention, and Sexual Health Promotion” (in Biosocieties, with Laura Mamo); “The Politics of Health Mobilization in the United States: The Promise and Pitfalls of ‘Disease Constituencies’” (in Social Science & Medicine); and “‘For Men Arousal Is Orientation’: Bodily Truthing, Technosexual Scripts, and the Materialization of Sexualities through the Phallometric Test” (in Social Studies of Science, with Tom Waidzunas). Sarah Hieatt Jacoby (Religious Studies) won the E. Gene Smith Book Prize for Inner Asia books at the Association of Asian Studies (AAS) meeting in April 2016 for her book Sarah Jacoby, Love and Liberation: Autobiographical Writings of the Tibetan Buddhist Visionary Sera Khandro (New York: Columbia UP, 2014). Phyllis Lassner (Jewish Studies/WCAS Writing Program) published “Jewish Exile in Englishness” in The Edinburgh Companion to Modern Jewish Fiction (Edinburgh University Press, 2015). She is currently serving the second year of her International Diamond Jubilee Fellowship at Southampton University, UK. Ann Orloff (Sociology/Political Science) was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford in 2014-15 and has been appointed Board of Lady Managers of the Columbia Exposition Chair. Prof. Orloff co-edited a special issue of Political Power and Social Theory (Vol. 30, 2016): “Perverse Politics? Feminism, Anti-Imperialism, Multiplicity” with Evren Savci and Raka Ray ( book/10.1108/S0198-8719201630). Prof. Orloff’s article “Feminism/s in Power,” co-authored with NU graduate student Talia Shiff (JD/PhD, Sociology), is included in the issue, as are articles by NU GSS Certificate students Savina Balasubramanian, Beth Bernstein, Jennifer Carlson, and Kim Hoang. Frances Freeman Paden (Emerita Faculty GSS/Writing Program) gave a lecture entitled “My Buried Life: Adelene Moffat in Crete, 1903,” at Historic Northampton, in April that explored Adelene Moffat’s pioneering work as a archaeological artist at Gournia.


In 2015-16 SPAN continued to have an active presence at Northwestern. This year, for the first time, our annual faculty-graduate student reading group was a joint initiative of SPAN and CFAR, the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research, and we focused on the topic of “Pleasure and Danger.” The group, which was facilitated by Amy Partridge (GSS) and Judy Moskowitz (CFAR), and assisted by Aaron Norton (SPAN), included faculty and students from Evanston, Feinberg, and the University of Chicago. We engaged in productive interdisciplinary discussion about various topics related to health, risk, and sexual pleasure, and gave close attention to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and other developments in HIV prevention. SPAN’s annual workshop this Spring, “Whereabouts: The Politics of Sexuality, Place, and Space,” brought together a very interdisciplinary set of scholars working in this area. Our keynote speaker, the pioneering sexualities studies scholar Gayle Rubin, brought a full house to McCormick Auditorium with her fascinating overview and analysis of the economic, political, and spatial transformation of San Francisco’s leather district. (Prof. Rubin’s talk was

co-sponsored by GSS). The keynote was followed the next day by presentations by Marlon Bailey, Amin Ghaziani, Christina Hanhardt, and LaMonda Horton-Stallings. Once again, SPAN was able to fund a range of faculty and graduate student work in sexuality studies, including research projects, dissertation fellowships, and conference presentations. As the year closes, we say goodbye to our current SPAN postdocs, Kai M. Green and Aaron Norton, and we welcome two new postdocs to campus in the Fall: Mitali Thakor and AJ Lewis (featured in this newsletter). We also want to take the opportunity to thank our invaluable program assistant Eliot Colin, who is completing their first year on the job. In 2016-17, the SPAN co-directors will be on research leave. We’re very pleased to announce that in our absence Prof. Gregory Ward (Linguistics) will serve as interim director and will oversee a full array of academic and funding opportunities. Héctor Carrillo and Steve Epstein SPAN Co-directors

Gayle Rubin


By Rae Langes (PhD Candidate, Performance Studies & GSS)

Picture this: a grainy black and white photograph of The Tool Box, a gay leather bar housed on the ground floor of a working class tenement in South of Market, San Francisco in 1971, with over a dozen motorcycles parked out front. Now picture a high definition, full color photograph of a sleek Whole Foods grocery store topped by upscale condominiums circa 2016, on the same site. These two photos framed the opening remarks of Gayle Rubin’s keynote lecture, “Gay Sex and the Post Industrial City: Leathermen, San Francisco, and Geographies of Queer Space,” which kicked off this year’s SPAN workshop. Throughout the lecture, Rubin charged the audience to think critically about the gentrification of South of Market, the potential role of gay populations in that process, and the implications it has for the future of queer spaces in the metropolis. During her talk, Rubin challenged “the myth of gay affluence” underpinning recent discourses on gentrification in the United States, wherein coupled gays with disposable incomes purchase and renovate homes in low income areas and push out poor renters, paving the way for corporate urban renewal, symbolized by high-end commercial sites like Whole Foods. In reality, Rubin noted, a majority of gays are renters, not property owners, and have considerably lower incomes than their straight counterparts. Therefore, from an economic perspective, it is illogical to argue that gays are the harbingers of gentrification. Rubin pointed out that “gentrification and queer neighborhood formation are not the same thing, although they may overlap.” Blending archival and ethnographic data on gay leather and lesbian communities of San Francisco from the 1960s onward, Rubin offered a nuanced account of the interplay between gay neighborhood formation and gentrification. As was the case with South of Market, the association of gay neighborhoods with criminality and vice, the precarious socio-economic status of their inhabitants, and their location at the edges of the city center render them prime targets for corporate urban renewal. As buildings are renovated or demolished and rents are raised in these areas, “geographic concentrations of queers in metropolises [become] untenable.” In light of the changes forced upon gay hubs like South of Market, which mark a trend in urban renewal and expansion projects across the country, how might we imagine the future of queer spaces? This question, which Rubin posed toward the end of her lecture, was productively complicated as audience members considered it alongside recent gay migrations from urban to rural areas and the digital mediation of queer spaces in an effort to begin sketching out tentative answers.



on the politics of sexuality, space and place “Right Time, Right Place” By Shoniqua Roach (PhD Candidate, Performance Studies & GSS)

Aaron Norton, Kai M. Green, and Marlon Bailey at SPAN workshop

Marlon Bailey addresses SPAN workshop

Marlon Bailey (Women & Gender Studies, Arizona State University) began his talk, “Right Time, Right Place: Black Gay Men, Sexual Situations, and the Means of Pleasure,” with ethnographic vignettes showcasing contemporary Midwestern black gay men’s forays into “anything goes” parties. These are covert sex parties promoted by and for black gay men and gay men of color, where participants engage in “risky” sexual practices, specifically “raw sex” (i.e. sex without condoms). According to Bailey, these parties not only challenge public health conceptions of risk that denounce raw sex between non-monogamous, same-sex sexual partners, but also illustrate how black gay men individually and collectively construct alternative notions of risk and pleasure that counter public health discourses that position black (gay) men as vectors of disease and contagion, often via the trope of the “down low brother.” As such, these sites also offer salient examples of black gay men’s erotic autonomy. Graduate student commentators V. Chaudry and Eddie Gamboa queried the importance of attending to the changing landscape of HIV/AIDS, especially in light of new pharmaceutical prevention technologies such as PrEP and of integrating black feminist theorizations of the erotic into his formulation of erotic autonomy, as well as the experiences of black (queer) women more generally.

“Integration, Inequality, and the Gayborhood” By Kara Johnson (PhD Candidate, English & GSS)


In his talk, “Integration, Inequality, and the Gayborhood,” Amin Ghaziani (Sociology, University of British Columbia) discussed the alleged “demise” of the North American gay neighborhood, using San Francisco’s Castro district, Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, and Chicago’s Boystown as case studies. Ghaziani proposed that an urban sociological study of the ways gay neighborhoods change over time enables us to recognize how “changing conceptions of sexuality” yield “urban effects.” This approach challenges the conventional argument that people who identify as gay are “priced out” of their neighborhoods through gentrification. Instead, Ghaziani argued that the changing characteristics of gay neighborhoods reveal a social and cultural narrative much more complex than sheer “disappearance.” Graduate student respondents Claire Forstie and Stefan Vogler considered whether Ghaziani’s framework could be extended beyond a “normative” understanding of gay identity (especially to transgender communities), if the “gayborhood” had ever been a “safe space” for queers of color and transgender individuals, and if the narrative model of urban “gayborhoods” could be applied to rural areas, or even to the entire nation.

“‘Dead Addicts Don’t Recover’” By Amy Partridge (Assoc. Dir./DUS in GSS) In her talk, “‘Dead Addicts Don’t Recover’: Geographies of Risk & Harm in Early Needle Exchange,” Christina Hanhardt (American Studies, University of Maryland, College Park) examines the establishment of needle exchange projects by ACT UP activists in the mid 1980s and the complex political affinities these instantiated. During this period, as Hanhardt points out, gay communities were increasingly celebrated as vital to urban renewal efforts that focused on eradicating the chaos wrought by a newly identified “underclass” of the “intractable poor” concentrated in inner cities and exemplified by the drug addict. ACT UP’s needle exchange projects, however, sought to forge a political alliance between gay men and IV drug users on the basis of their “high risk” status and the marginalization each faced as a result. Importantly, these projects exemplified a harm reduction approach to the epidemic rates of HIV amongst IV drug users and were similar in this sense to activists’ promotion of safe(r) sex amongst gay men. Unlike gay identity, however, drug addiction was not understood as a positive attribute. Thus the goal of early needle exchange programs was to keep “addicts” alive long enough that they might “recover” and ultimately join the fight against AIDS. But only the recovered addict was understood as capable of becoming a subject, rather then merely the object, of AIDS activism. As such, Hanhardt argues, these projects simultaneously contested and reaffirmed the racist logics of contemporary “underclass” ideology. Graduate student commentators, Liz Laurie and Leigh Goldstein questioned how the populations these projects served understood their own drug use and made sense of these encounters with activists, as well as how we might more concretely recuperate the spatial politics of these projects and their effects on the “blighted” inner city neighborhoods in which they were located.

Hector Carillo joins discussion at SPAN Workshop

LaMonda Horton-Stallings addresses SPAN Workshop

Future Black Arts and the Revolutionary Black Queer Club By Megan Geigner (PhD, Interdisciplinary Theatre & Drama) In her talk, “Future Black Arts and the Revolutionary Black Queer Club,” LaMonda Horton-Stallings (Women’s Studies, University of Maryland) engages in what she calls promiscuous methodology. For her this is the radical act of using tempo, duration, and groove as ways to re-conceptualize “safe sex.” Specifically, Horton-Stallings offers the slow drag, an African American music form, as a corrective to public health discourses of “safe sex” and HIV/AIDS prevention. HIV/AIDS disproportionally affects AfricanAmerican women, yet state-run public health programs disregard these women’s situations by focusing exclusively on momentary prevention or treatment strategies--from putting on a condom to taking a pill at a specific time--instead of attending to those living with the disease. She also critiques the very term “safe sex,” arguing that African-American women have been denied “safe sex” in the United States. Horton Stallings evokes the durational temporality of the slow drag as a necessary corrective, one that makes space for black women’s sexual agency. “HIV knows there are different genres of the human,” she insisted, and argued for the importance of slowing down to ask who and how we define “safety” and which bodies we include in our assessment of what constitutes “safe sex.”



Ivan Bujan “The Ecstasy of Sexual Abjection: Performance and Queer World Making” Mollie McQuillan “Transitions: Pubertal Medical Treatment, Social Interactions, and Immune Response for Two Cohorts of Gender Dysphoric Youth” Lital Pascar “‘A New, Revolutionary Way to Love’: contemporary discourses about (non)monogamy”

SUMMER FUNDING RECIPIENTS Morgan Clark “Violence and Boundary Work in Online Video Game Communities” John Fleming “Identifying Factors That Influence PrEP Uptake Among Transgender Women” Alexandra Garr-Schultz “Identity Denial, Authenticity, and Resilience in Bisexual Populations” Julian Glover “Eating It, Working It, Serving It and Living: On the experiences of Transgender Women of Color in Chicago’s Ballroom Scene” Tay Glover “Exploring Southern Black Queer Women’s Identity, Pleasure, Resistance, and Erotic Community”

Guangshuo Yang and Tessie Liu

Kevin Hsu “Sexual Racism in the LGBT Community: What’s Behind Racial Preferences in Sex and Dating Among Gay and Bisexual Men?” Anna Michelson “Incorporating the Erotic: Women’s Sexuality and Symbolic Boundaries in Romance Genre Fiction” Bennie Niles, IV “Queering the Starting Line: Making a Case for Caster Semenya and Other Non-Binary Athletes” Karly-Lynne Scott “Pornographic Corporealities: Constructing the Body in Moving Image Representations of Sex” Stefan Vogler “Legal Bureaucracies and the Production of Sexual Knowledge”

INTRODUCING THE 2016-2018 SPAN POST-DOCS Mitali Thakor will complete her PhD in 2016 from MIT’s Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology & Society (HASTS). Her dissertation examines the design and use of new digital techniques to locate child pornography online, from 3D avatars to image recognition software, and explores partnerships and tensions between international police, border control, computer scientists, UN bureaucrats, and activists in the Netherlands, Thailand, and the U.S. as they develop algorithmic solutions to cases of exploitation and trafficking. Her research and teaching interests include feminist STS, queer studies of punishment, digital anthropology, critical race studies on borders and migration, and public discourses around technology, software design, sex work, sexual exploitation, and civic empowerment. Mitali holds a B.A. in Feminist Studies and Anthropology from Stanford. She also works for East Coast Solidarity Summer, an educational program for radical South Asian American youth, and also organizes on issues of sexual violence and prison abolition.


Abram J. (AJ) Lewis completed his PhD in American Studies at the University of Minnesota and was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies at Grinnell College. AJ’s research and teaching interests include queer and feminist theory, LGBT history, trans studies, postsecular studies, and women of color feminisms. His current project, “The Falling Dream: Unreason and Enchantment in the Gay Liberation Movement,” examines queer activist challenges to secularism and reason in the pursuit of gay liberation. He is interested in particular in how experiments with madness, spells, psychic powers, psychedelics, and otherworldly forces helped expand possibilities for thinking and acting during the early onset of neoliberalism. AJ’s writing has appeared in Radical History Review, The Journal of the History of Sexuality, and The Scholar & Feminist Online. AJ is also the recipient of the 2016 Gregory Sprague Prize from the American Historical Association’s Committee on LGBT History.


GRADUATE PROGRAM: YEAR IN REVIEW This year was another productive and exciting one for the graduate community in Gender & Sexuality Studies. At the start of the Fall, we welcomed four new Mellon Cluster fellows to our program: Maria De Simone in Theatre and Drama, Anna Dumont in Art History, Naphtalie Jeanty in Anthropology, and Bennie Niles in African American Studies. Now, as Spring Quarter concludes, we congratulate four PhD students who have completed their Certificate requirements and defended their dissertations or shortly will do so: Kiyona Brewster in Sociology, Lynn Jencks in Religion, Alexandra Lindgren-Gibson in History, and Rhaisa Williams in Performance Studies. Michel Joy became the first M.A. student in the Higher Education Administration program to complete the GSS Certificate.

Aymar Christian and graduate students after Gayle Rubin talk

Anna Terwiel, in addition to finishing her doctorate in Political Science and the Cluster requirements for GSS, returned to offer a very successful version of “Roots of Feminism,” the foundational course of our undergraduate curriculum. Meanwhile, the dozens of other graduate students pursuing an official credential in Gender & Sexuality Studies continued to present at local, national, and international conferences; to win competitive fellowships and prizes on and off the campus; and to complete such important milestones as secondyear papers and dissertation prospectuses on their way toward achieving degrees in an ever-expanding array of fields. Nick Davis Director of Graduate Studies in GSS

Graduate students congregate after Gayle Rubin talk

Graduate Students Convene Symposium on “Black Feminist Futures” On May 20-21, “Black Feminist Futures,” a two-day symposium organized by NU graduate students and co-sponsored by the Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, traced Black feminist theory and praxis in and beyond the academy, with the goal of filling an institutional void at Northwestern. Centering intergenerational Black feminist dialogue as a critical, intellectual, and social force, sixteen leading scholars participated including; scholar and social justice activist Cathy Cohen, whose political work on U.S. social movements has shaped our fundamental understandings of Black politics and Black queer women’s political activism, and Kara Keeling, whose cultural work on the implications of Black women’s (in)visibility in the cinematic form has been critical to rethinking the production of Black cultural politics and alternative forms of sociality.


Erin Andrews Erin Andrews is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English and is pursuing the Gender & Sexuality Studies and Critical Theory Certificates. She has taught courses on writing and on the history of technology and has served as a TA for courses on literature and film at Northwestern. Her dissertation project draws on queer and feminist theories of the state and structures of political feeling to explore the relationships between popular science fiction texts and the US military in the second half of the 20th century.

Todd Nordgren Todd Nordgren is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English and is pursuing the Gender & Sexualities Studies and Critical Theory Certificates. Todd has taught courses on poetry and poetics, modernist fiction, and life writing in minority communities. His dissertation, “Taking Form: Writing Queer Lives in the Early Twentieth Century,” analyzes related adaptations of conventional literary genres in queer works previously unconnected in scholarship, focusing on the period between Oscar Wilde’s trials for “gross indecency” and the formation of gay and lesbian movements after World War II.


Hannah Chaskin Hannah Chaskin is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English and is pursuing the Gender & Sexuality Studies and Critical Theory Certificates. Her dissertation, “Queer Correspondence: Sexuality and Epistolary Structure, 1680-1800” explores the ways in which the narrative structure of the eighteenthcentury “novel in letters” unexpectedly allows for the representation of queer female sexualities.


V Chaudhry V Chaudhry is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology and is pursuing the Gender & Sexuality Studies Certificate. V’s dissertation research focuses on transgender activism, particularly among trans folks of color, and negotiations between organizers and funders. V’s research builds upon nearly ten years of activism and organizing among queer and trans youth of color in St. Louis, Chicago, and New York City.


V Chaudhry (PhD Candidate, Anthropology & GSS Certificate) was

awarded a Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship to conduct pre-dissertation research in Philadelphia, PA this summer and received Honorable Mention for the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. Her dissertation project is currently titled “The Price Tag of Transgender Justice: Organizing, Racial Politics, and Funding in Philadelphia.”

Clare Forstie (PhD Candidate, Sociology & GSS Certificate) complet-

ed her second year as a University Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where she is currently teaching, conducting research for her dissertation, and facilitating programming for the Doyle Center for Gender and Sexuality. Her article co-authored with Gary Alan Fine, “Signaling Perversion: Senator David Walsh and the Politics of Euphemism and Dysphemism,” will be published in the journal Sexualities and her book chapter on “Trigger Warnings” will be published in the forthcoming Queer Studies and Education: Critical Concepts for the Twenty-First Century. Clare also presented her dissertation research on LGBTQ community and friendship at numerous conferences this past year.

Claudia Garcia-Rojas (PhD Candidate, African-American Studies)

presented papers at Northwestern’s Queertopia 2016: Troubling Queerness and at the Black Feminism, Womanism, and the Politics of Women of Colour in Europe conference in Edinburgh, Scotland this year. Her article, “(Un)Disciplined Destinies: Women of Color Feminism as a Disruptive to White Affect Studies” is forthcoming in the Journal of Lesbian Studies. She also received a Buffet Center Dissertation Award to conduct research at the Summer School of Black Europe this summer.

Megan Geigner (PhD in Interdisciplinary Theatre & Drama) suc-

cessfully defended her dissertation, Staging Chicago Immigrants: Immigrant Discourse, Civic Performance, and Hyphenated Identity, 1890-1920 in November and will begin a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of English and Artistic Director of the Masqueraders at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in the fall.

Jenna Harmon (PhD Candidate, Musicology & GSS Certificate) was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to France to begin archival research for

her dissertation project, which investigates the relationship between eroticism and music in late 18th century Paris. Her preliminary findings have been published in the proceedings of the 2015 Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Conference, hosted by the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library.

Shoniqua Roach (PhD Candidate, Performance Studies & GSS Certificate) presented at the Black Queer Ontologies and National Women’s

Studies Association conferences this year and co-organized the Black Feminist Futures Symposium at Northwestern this spring. She also won a Performance Studies Focus Group at ATHE Emerging Scholars paper award, designed and taught a GSS course on “Hip-hop Culture and Black Feminisms” and published a book review in the Journal of Popular Music Studies.

Sarah Roth (PhD Candidate, English) was awarded the ACLS/Mel-

lon Dissertation Completion Fellowship and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Women’s Studies Dissertation Fellowship, for her project titled “An Interesting Situation: Reproduction and the Un-Domestication of the Victorian Novel.”

Stefan Vogler (PhD Candidate, Sociology) was awarded a SPAN Dis-

sertation Fellowship for 2015-2016.. He recently published an article on urban diversity politics in the Journal of Homosexuality and his article on the development of LGBTQ political asylum law has been accepted for publication in Law & Society Review.

Rhaisa Williams (PhD, Performance Studies) is a postdoctoral fellow

at Washington University in St. Louis in the Performing Arts Department. Her article “Toward a Theorization of Black Maternal Grief as Analytic” was published in Transforming Anthropology (Spring 2016).

ALUMNI UPDATES Gina Krupp (2015) Elise Chagas (2014) Elise was admitted to MA programs in Art History at NYU’s Institute of Gina Krupp is a Project Assistant for the Economic Justice Project at Fine Arts, the University of Chicago, and Williams College and will begin Sanctuary for Families, a domestic violence non-profit in NYC, where she works on securing public benefits, housing and legal advocacy for domesthe MA program at Williams on a full fellowship in fall. tic violence survivors. Serena Dai (2011) Sarah Moss (2016) Serena Dai accepted a position as a Reporter at Eater in New York City in October. Previously, she worked as a Reporter for DNAInfo where she cov- Sarah Moss will begin working for McMaster-Carr in a rotational management program in August. ered diverse gender-related topics and contributed a story on one of the first Chicago Public School teachers to publicly talk about her gender transition. Tessa Owens (2014) Tessa Owens is currently a Research Assistant for IMPACT at NorthwestSarah Daoud (2013) Sarah Daoud is a Resource Advocate at the Broadway Youth Center in Chi- ern’s Feinberg College of Medicine but recently accepted a position with cago. In fall, she will begin the MSW program at Washington University in the Peace Corps as a Community Health Promoter in Peru, where she will be working with members of a rural community to promote health and St. Louis, where she awarded a full fellowship. prevent HIV/AIDS transmission. Erica Futterman (2006) Caroline Perry (2011) Erica Futterman recently accepted a position as New York Bureau Chief of Caroline Perry just completed her first year in the PhD program in PhilosoMTV News. phy at the University of Michigan. Amanda Glickman (2015) Pree Walia (2004) Amanda Glickman is interning for Refinery 29’s Health and Wellness Department, where she contributes articles on issues related to positive body Pree Walia is the CEO of Premadonna, a female lifestyle company. Their first product, the Nailbot, which prints custom art directly from your smartimage, sexuality, and mental health. phone onto your nails, has been covered by NPR, MTV and Seventeen and the company received industry recognition as TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield Finalist in September 2015. One goal of Preemadonna is to inspire the next generation of female entrepreneurs and technologists through products like the Nailbot.



GSS Undergraduate Program Year in Review Congratulations to our 20 graduating seniors! Special kudos to Sarah Moss and Chloe Williams, who completed senior theses in GSS last spring, as well as to all the students awarded prizes in GSS for their work during the 2015-16 academic year. Last spring, we were also delighted to welcome recent GSS alum Bea Cordelia back to campus to offer a performative lecture entitled “The Revolution Onstage: Trans/Queer Art as Activism.” We look forward to welcoming a number of other Chicagobased GSS alums back to campus this spring to participate in a series of discussions. This year we continue to offer a robust selection of undergraduate courses in GSS. Of particular note are the new courses offered by Visiting Assistant Professor in GSS and African American Studies LaShonda Barnett, which include: “African American Women’s History: De-marginalizing Race & Gender” (Fall ‘16), “Whose Body Is It Anyway? A Cultural

History of the 20th Century” (Fall ‘16) and “African Women Writers” (Winter ‘17). New core faculty member Jennifer Nash will also be offering “Black Feminisms: Theory, Practice, Politics” in Spring Quarter. Amy Partridge Assoc. Dir. & Director of Undergraduate Studies in GSS

STUDY ABROAD TESTIMONIALS Beatrice Hagney (‘17) Czech Republic

“Studying abroad in the Czech Republic was an incredibly valuable experience for me, both as a student and a global citizen. I tried to immerse myself in as many cultural and social activities as possible, while exploring surrounding countries in the meantime. While many aspects of daily life, including gendered interactions, were different from what I’m accustomed to at home, these instances offered a chance to take a Central European approach towards gender and sexuality studies in ways I couldn’t experience within a classroom.”

Tess Levin (‘17) Copenhagen

I experienced some of the best months of my life while studying abroad in Copenhagen. My core course was “LGBTQ in Europe,” which surveyed theory, history, and current issues related to LGBTQ topics through a specifically European lens. The trips we took were focused on GSS topics in cities where LGBTQ rights, queer culture, and feminism thrive (Copenhagen included).

Molly Benedict (‘17) Jordan


I did not take any gender themed classes, however, issues pertinent to GSS came up in my classes and in my time abroad. As a double major in MENA, I have spent a lot of time looking at the intersection of GSS and MENA. Perhaps the most direct relation in the classroom abroad was in a class I took on Jordan, the environment and activism. Jordan is the third water poorest country in the world. While in Amman women are often more likely than men to attend university, they are still unequally represented in the workforce. This issue affects rural women even more. Often, as women are more likely to stay home, environmental issues have a higher impact on them. Lack of water therefore becomes an issue women must deal with. They are expected to make their water supply last for a week - or sometimes longer - and must use it to cook, clean, and ensure there is enough for showers or baths.

TWO GSS SENIORS COMPLETE THESES Recuperating Monique Wittig through “The Site of Action”

Sarah Moss

Positioning language as a means of egalitarian escape, Monique Wittig explored the dangerous entanglements between linguistic tropes and women’s subjugation. In this essay, I first examine two writers who have appropriated Wittig’s work, Judith Butler and Linda Zerilli. Delving into a deeper investigation of how both feminist writers appropriate Wittigian theory into their own feminist pursuits offers me an opportunity to explore a diverse range of Wittig’s reception in the feminist milieu. Unlike Butler and Zerilli’s efforts to enmesh Wittig in their own theoretical trajectories, I will revisit Wittig’s interpretative framework to better understand her utopian novels. Wittig’s “The Site of Action” (1984) uncovers how an implicit social contract often forcefully shapes conversations, so that the promise of reciprocal communication may only exist within the confines of fictional narratives. I will use this text to emphasize the importance of the ‘I speaker’ and highlight how literature offers writers the unique opportunity to destroy old, oppressive language and introduce egalitarian principles. A renewed reading of Wittig’s two novels underscores the importance of symbolic violence in forging new language to revolutionize social conceptions of femininity.

Makeup Vlogging: Recapitulation of Femininity Standards as Modalities of Community and Agency

Chloe Williams

Though makeup has often been theorized as harmful to women and girls, I analyze online makeup vlogging as a complex site of feminist work that nutures and builds agency in girls and young women. I argue makeup vloggers construct the production of femininity as an achievable game and present it as a series of skills that can be mastered in the process of becoming a woman with the requisite knowledge to perform femininity successfully. In my thesis, I situate my readings of popular makeup vlogs produced in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States in conversation with feminist theories of performativity and focus on “My Everyday Makeup Routine | Zoella” posted by YouTube user Zoella as particularly representative of the tropes utilized by makeup vloggers and as exemplary of the behaviors and language common to participants in this community.


The Revolution Onstage: Trans/Queer art as Activism Alumna Bea Cordelia Returned to GSS

On the evening of May 12, returning alumna Bea Cordelia discussed the politics of trans and queer art and her own trajectory as a Chicago-based trans-identified artist and performer since her graduation from Northwestern. She ended the talk with a remarkable performance from her autobiographical solo show Chasing Blue. Cordelia (GSS/Theatre ’15) is an award-winning Chicago-based writer, solo performer, and teaching artist. Six of her plays have been produced to date and many of her poems and essays published, including the self-published chapbook of poetry 28.06 // Dear Sylvia. Her autobiographical solo show Chasing Blue will shortly feature in The Brick’s Trans Theatre Festival in Brooklyn this June after a wildly successful workshop production in Evanston last year. She has been featured at Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, the Green Mill, Links Hall, Salonathon, The Fly Honey Show, and many more venues and events throughout Chicagoland. She has an upcoming residency with Chicago Performance Lab at University of Chicago this summer.

Undergraduate Awards Rae Arlene Moses Leadership Award Student Leadership

Tristan Chiruvolu

George C. Casey Prize

Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs PRize

Best Undergraduate Essay

Best Senior Thesis

Bex Ehrmann

Sarah Moss

OutStanding Students Outstanding Performances in GSS Freshman:


Madeline Meyer


Sylvia Regan


Bailey Williams

Gender & Sexuality Studies Program 1800 Sherman, 4th FL. Evanston, IL 60201-2211.

Gender Dynamic (2015-16)  
Gender Dynamic (2015-16)