CFP: GLBTQ Issues and Womens Studies in the South (11/15/06; SEWSA, 3/22/07-3/24/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Lisa Johnson

Call for Papers


 (Proposed Panel, SEWSA, UT-Chattanooga, March 22-24,

On October 11, 2006, USC Upstate in Spartanburg, South
Carolina celebrated National Coming Out Day along with
many other campuses across the nation. Community
members posted condemnations on the Spartanburg
Herald-Journal's online forum after the announcement
appeared in the paper on October 10: "Please tell me
this is not real!!!"; "I thought we lived in the Bible
Belt"; "I liked it better when they were still in the
closet." Local ministers and alumni placed phone
calls to administration in the Academic Affairs and
University Advancement offices to complain. Three
students protested the "Gay? Fine by Me" t-shirt
campaign, wearing shirts that read, "Coming Out for
Christ." They harassed participants with threats of
hellfire and the predictable related Bible verses.
The protest was small and relatively peaceful, but it
nevertheless raised significant questions about the
possibilities and obstacles for anti-homophobic work
in this region.

In 1989, Anthony D'Augelli documented the 20-year
history of Penn State to evolve from expelling
homosexual students to supporting gay and lesbian
student groups. How far behind is the U.S. Southeast
in producing pro-actively gay-friendly campus
atmospheres? What can be done to accelerate this
process? I propose that Women's Studies should emerge
as a leader, drawing on its academic affiliations with
queer theory and the history of gay and lesbian civil
rights, as well as the hard-fought and influential
feminist sex wars of the 1980s, to promote
non-normative sexualities alongside the many other
kinds of difference our field defends. It is up to
the directors and professors of Women's Studies to
claim this work, and to produce a rhetoric of sexual
diversity that can intervene in the culture of shame,
stigma, and sexual repression that continues to
characterize the dominant ideology of the Bible Belt.

Next spring's SEWSA conference provides an excellent
opportunity for Women's Studies professors in the
Southeast to brainstorm on productive intersections
between Women's Studies and GLBTQ issues. With NCOD
in mind, but without limiting paper topics to this
particular day of observance, I invite abstracts (500
words) on the topic of integrating GLBTQ studies into
the Women's Studies curriculum and feminist cultural
events on conservative campuses in the U.S.
.Southeast. Papers should use the following questions
as primary points of departure:

-What is, should, or could be the role played by
Women's Studies (departments, programs, centers,
minors, or individual courses) in supporting the GLBTQ
student population and exposing college students to
counter-cultural knowledge about non-normative

-Are there particular feminist principles and/or
concrete tactics we could use as WS professors and
directors to legitimate, protect, and proliferate this
anti-homophobic work in the U.S. Southeast?

Competitive submissions will balance
personal/ethnographic narrative with feminist and
queer pedagogical theory.

Email abstracts by Nov. 15, 2006 to Dr. Lisa Johnson
( Advance inquiries are also

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Received on Fri Nov 10 2006 - 18:14:08 EST