Nov. 20, 1997
Vol. 17, No. 5

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    Lesbian & Gay Studies Project established

    By William Harms
    News Office

    The Lesbian & Gay Studies Project has been established as part of the Center for Gender Studies to bring increased research attention to issues of gender and sexuality.

    The project is organizing campus scholarly programs related to gay and lesbian studies, including a Lesbian & Gay Studies Workshop, symposia and graduate student research.

    "This project gives the growing number of Chicago faculty and graduate students with research interests in this area a place to discuss their work," said George Chauncey, Professor in History and Chair of the Lesbian & Gay Studies Project. "The support we have received from the Provost and the Dean of the Social Sciences represents the University's commitment to fostering pathbreaking work in this rapidly developing field."

    Much of this year's project work is taking place in conjunction with the Sawyer Seminar on Sexual Identities and Identity Politics. The seminar is funded by the Mellon Foundation and organized by the same faculty involved in the project, under the auspices of the Chicago Humanities Institute. The Mellon grant has provided support for a post-doctoral student and three students working on doctoral dissertations in gay and lesbian studies.

    The seminar is organizing a day-long symposium each quarter, as well as biweekly workshops at which visiting scholars and seminar fellows present their work. The autumn symposium drew 60 participants, including 20 faculty from other metropolitan-area universities.

    Upcoming events include a symposium on March 7 that will showcase the work of graduate students, many of whom have been part of the Sawyer Seminar, Chauncey said.

    The seminar work during autumn quarter has focused on the contested globalization of homosexual and heterosexual identities.

    In winter quarter, the seminar will focus on transculturalism and diasporic sexualities, and in the spring the focus will be on the development of lesbian, gay and queer sexual identities and identity politics in the United States. As part of that emphasis, the Sawyer Seminar will sponsor the symposium "The Queerness of American Sexual Politics" on April 18.

    The Lesbian & Gay Studies Project will continue its work in the 1998-99 academic year by organizing public lectures, a film series and other events, as well as the Lesbian & Gay Studies Workshop. Also starting next year, the project will begin sponsoring annual autumn weekend-long symposia on topics in gay and lesbian studies. It will also offer research grants to students writing dissertations in Lesbian & Gay Studies, beginning this year.

    In addition to Chauncey, faculty involved in the Lesbian & Gay Studies Project are the seminar and project's co-chair Elizabeth Povinelli, Associate Professor in Anthropology; Mary Becker, the Arnold I. Shure Professor in the Law School; Michael Camille, Professor in Art History; and Deborah Nelson, Assistant Professor in English Language & Literature.

    For more information about this year's Sawyer Seminar, contact sawyer-seminar@uchicago.edu.