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AIDS and the Distribution of Crises

2 March 2020 at 2:00 pm, Digital Humanities Center, Love Library, LA-61, SDSU

Drs. Jih-Fei Cheng and Alexandra Juhasz are editors, with Nishant Shahani, of the soon-to-be released AIDS and the Distribution of Crises (Duke University Press 2020) which establishes how the AIDS pandemic is a network of varied historical, overlapping, and ongoing crises born of global capitalism and colonial, racialized, gendered, and sexual violence. Engaging with AIDS activist and artist, Judy Ornelas Sisneros, this panel will present meaningful examples from the anthology, Sisneros’s ongoing work, and the archival art show, Metanoia: Transformation Through AIDS Art and Activism (at the ONE Archives Gallery in West Hollywood) with which all three panelists are involved. Drawing on their investments in activism, media, anticolonialism, feminism, and queer and trans of color critiques, the panelists will outline how the neoliberal logic of “crisis” structures how AIDS is aesthetically, institutionally, and politically reproduced and experienced.

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Event co-sponsored by The Digital Humanities Initiative and SDSU Library; free and open to the public.

AIDS and the Distribution of Crises

Past Events

Nina Hartley | Reel Sex vs. Real Sex

Nina Hartley | Reel Sex vs. Real Sex

24 September 2019

adult film entertainer, feminist porn pioneer, sex educator
followed by a screening of The Secret Lives of Adult Stars at 12:30 p.m.
co-sponsor: M.A.L.A.S. The Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Shine Louise Houston | Sexual Narratives and the Value of PornShine Louise Houston | Sexual Narratives and the Value of Porn

15 October 2019

filmmaker, founding director/producer, Pink and White Productions queer pornography company

Dr. Tim Dean | The Pornographic Unconscious (University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign)

Dr. Tim Dean | The Pornographic Unconscious (University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign)

author of Unlimited Intimacy: Reflections on the Subculture of Barebacking and co-editor of Porn Archives
co-sponsor: Department of English & Comparative Literature

Blacktino Queer Performance

Blacktino Queer Performance

14 March 2019

E. Patrick Johnson and Ramón Rivera-Servera, Authors of Blacktino Queer Performance (Duke University Press)
Northwestern University

Blacktino Queer Performance approaches the interrelations of blackness and Latinidad through a stimulating mix of theory and art. The collection contains nine performance scripts by established and emerging black and Latina/o queer playwrights and performance artists, each accompanied by an interview and critical essay conducted or written by leading scholars of black, Latina/o, and queer expressive practices. Whether interrogating constructions of Latino masculinity, theorizing the black queer male experience, or examining black lesbian relationships, the contributors present Blacktino Queer Performance as an artistic, critical, political, and collaborative practice.

Co-sponsored with the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts & Sciences (MALAS) program and the Department of English and Comparative Studies, part of the Wendelmoot Symposium Series Spring 2019

“Dirty Little Secrets”: On Transphobic Eroticism and the Limits of Intimacy

“Dirty Little Secrets”: On Transphobic Eroticism and the Limits of Intimacy

26 March 2019

Dr. Talia Mae Bettcher, California State University, Los Angeles

Event is free and open to the public

In this talk, Bettcher theorizes the intermeshing of transphobic oppression with sexist and racist oppressions. Specifically, Bettcher considers the relations among “deceiver/pretender” representations, intimacy, labor, and law enforcement in transphobic eroticizations of trans women. While focusing on trans sex work, Bettcher also explores the general structural features that can undermine relationship formation for trans women.

What Transpires Now: Frances Thompson and the Long Civil War

What Transpires Now: Frances Thompson and the Long Civil War

17 April 2019

Dr. Susan Stryker, University of Arizona
author of Transgender History

Stryker explores the complex history and the intersections of race and gender in the life of Frances Thompson, a former slave, and one of the five black women whose testimony was heard before a congressional committee investigating the Memphis Riots (1866). Thompson as well as other freedwomen were attacked and raped during the riots. In 1876, Thompson was arrested for dressing in men's clothing.

The Lavender League: Conversations on Queer Film and Trans Representation

The Lavender League: Conversations on Queer Film and Trans Representation

27 February 2019

Producer Luka Fisher will present a series of films that they have produced with directors Tristan Scott-Behrends and Matthew Kaundart and that feature visual and performance artist Daniel Crook -- these films explore themes of identity, sexuality, masculine femininity, and misogyny on grindr. Schedules permitting, Fisher will be joined by Scott-Behrends, Kaundart, and Crook. The conversation will continue with a presentation by Lyle Kash, who is the writer, director, and editor of Death and Bowling, a feature film about death, transformation, and grief made by an almost entirely trans cast and crew (T4T Productions).

Ordinary Lesbians and Special Collections: The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives and Queer Archival Turns

Ordinary Lesbians and Special Collections: The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives and Queer Archival Turns

Monday, October 15, 2018

Dr. Ann Cvetkovich, University of Texas, Austin

What happens when a grassroots lesbian feminist archive finds its way to the special collections of a major university research library? Does it lose its counterarchival aura, or can it carry its powers of critical intervention into new spaces? This talk explores these questions through the case of the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives, which have recently been housed and catalogued at UCLA. It will focus in particular on how the self-archiving practices of “ordinary lesbians” make available the lives of those who may not be publicly recognized but whom the archive can make valuable. And it will explore this case history within the broader context of her research on queer archival politics.

Co-sponsored with the Department of Women's Studies

Slaves to the Rhythm: Grace Jones, Disco, and Black Feminist Aesthetics

Slaves to the Rhythm: Grace Jones, Disco, and Black Feminist Aesthetics

29 October 2018

Dr. Uri McMillan, University of California, Los Angeles

This talk thinks through dance and black feminist aesthetics, principally engaging black women artists in the 1970s who engaged with various forms of dance--especially disco and funk--as pathways to new forms of being, thought, and aesthetics. In other words, how can we think of dance as a linchpin for a particular form of black feminist avant-garde aesthetics? And what emerges when we focus on the street, nightclub, and discoteque--rather than the museum--as the place where iconoclastic visual and performance paradigms emerged?

Centering on Grace Jones's commentary on disco in her recently published memoirs, I'll Never Write My Memoirs, this talk will also pivot out to consider conceptual artist Adrian Piper's writings on funk in New York City and Senga Nengudi's hybrid of sculpture and dance in Southern California in the 70s.

Queer Love on Barbary Lane: The Sexual Politics of Serial Gay Fiction in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City

Queer Love on Barbary Lane: The Sexual Politics of Serial Gay Fiction in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City

12 September 2018

Dr. Ramzi Fawaz, University of Wisconsin, Madison

In this talk, Fawaz analyzes the content and reading experience of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, the most popular serialized gay fiction of the 1970s, which appeared in daily installments in the San Francisco Chronicle between 1976-1983. He argues that the serialized rhythm of the narrative—which followed the social and sexual misadventures of a cadre of queer friends in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood—modeled gay liberation’s conception of "coming out of the closet" about one’s sexuality as a process that unfolds over time through repeated encounters with new erotic possibilities. To provide evidence of this link between serial format and lived experience, Fawaz draws upon interviews he conducted with actual San Francisco readers of Maupin’s original text alongside close analysis of the rhetorical and literary forms of address that Maupin deployed to make "coming out" a widely accessible way of expressing one's sexual and social desires, regardless of one's specific sexual identity. Ultimately Fawaz shows the story's unfolding narrative about 1970s queer social life and the actual experience of reading it daily alongside other San Francisco residents helped disseminate the radical sexual politics of gay liberation to both gay and straight audiences through the very act of repeated reading, and on-going engagement with each character’s sexual awakenings.

Sad Porn

Sad Porn

19 February 2018

Dr. Hoang Tan Nguyen, University of California, San Diego

In the 1980s, the AIDS pandemic wiped out a vibrant gay sexual culture established in the United States during the sexual revolution in the 1970s. Consequently, the trauma of AIDS is reflected in the preeminent site of gay male cultural production: gay video pornography. Critics noted the consumption of pornography (as material for masturbation) as the “safest” sex of all, and activists called for the use of condoms in porn videos as an important strategy of safer sex education. While these scholarly and activist responses have rightly focused on education and prevention, there have been few efforts made to register the affective dimension of AIDS and visual representation.

This presentation examines the process of mourning in experimental film and video in the 1990s in response to the AIDS crisis. Specifically, I consider queer collage as a way of thinking about gay porn as a history of sexuality, as a celebration of sexuality, but also a history of loss and sadness. Using the films of Robert Blanchon, Michael Brynntrup, and Charles Lofton, I argue that these works, by reusing found footage from 1970s and 1980s gay pornography, call attention to the disappearance of the gay sexual archive with the advent of AIDS and the de-generation of analog media. The reanimation of obsolete formats, including celluloid film and VHS video, in these found footage films constitute a witnessing and a memorialization of a lost sexual culture. I contend that these films demonstrate how personal porn archiving ensures the survival of public sexual histories and memories.

Co-sponsored event with English and Comparative Literature, Humanities in Action

Sex Museums: The Politics and Performance of Display

Sex Museums: The Politics and Performance of Display

15 March 2018

Dr. Jennifer Tyburczy, University of California, Santa Barbara

All museums are sex museums. In Sex Museums, Jennifer Tyburczy takes a hard look at the formation of Western sexuality—particularly how categories of sexual normalcy and perversity are formed—and asks what role museums have played in using display as a technique for disciplining sexuality. Most museum exhibits, she argues, assume that white, patriarchal heterosexuality and traditional structures of intimacy, gender, and race represent national sexual culture for their visitors. Sex Museums illuminates the history of such heteronormativity at most museums and proposes alternative approaches for the future of public display projects, while also offering the reader curatorial tactics—what she calls queer curatorship—for exhibiting diverse sexualities in the twenty-first century.

Tyburczy shows museums to be sites of culture-war theatrics, where dramatic civic struggles over how sex relates to public space, genealogies of taste and beauty, and performances of sexual identity are staged. Delving into the history of erotic artifacts, she analyzes how museums have historically approached the collection and display of the material culture of sex, which poses complex moral, political, and logistical dilemmas for the Western museum. Sex Museums unpacks the history of the museum and its intersections with the history of sexuality to argue that the Western museum context—from its inception to the present—marks a pivotal site in the construction of modern sexual subjectivity.

Keeping It Unreal: Notes on Black Queer Fantasy

Keeping It Unreal: Notes on Black Queer Fantasy

13 April 2018

Dr. Darieck Scott, University of California, Berkeley

“Keeping It Unreal: Notes on Black Queer Fantasy” theorizes how fantasies of black power and triumph fashion theoretical, political and aesthetic challenges to—and respite from—white supremacy and antiblackness. This talk is drawn from Scott's current project, which examines representations of blackness in fantasy-infused genres: superhero comic books, erotic comics, fantasy and science-fiction genre literature, as well as contemporary literary “realist” fiction centering fantastic conceits.

These representations of black power are marked as fantastic because of their perceived distance from material realities such as the pervasive endangerment of black people’s lives, and large disparities between black and non-black populations in wealth and the exercise of political power. But fantasy is also often analytically understood in critical race scholarship as underwriting and sustaining blackness as the mark of the abject: Blackness becomes a racial, existential, social and political category via an imposition of fantasy on social reality; historically this facilitated the creation of a class of readily identifiable slave labor, and blackness was crucial in establishing a boundary-definition and status marker for the emerging “human” post-1492, thus strengthening the (non-black) human’s claim to political citizenship in a global world structured by the nation-state, capitalism, colonialism, and modernity. Racial fantasy in these senses is a political tool of subjugation par excellence, efficiently organizing political economies and social groupings, and seductively demanding that all individuals and collectives take up racialized terms of self-definition as the price of social belonging and of economic as well as psychic well-being.

While taking as true this account of the origins and functions of blackness and the part fantasy plays in its reproduction, this talk pursues the idea that fantasizing against antiblackness is highly significant, even if we cannot measure such fantasies’ effectiveness, and even though the wildest fantasy cannot free itself from the constraints of fantasizers’ immersion in a racialized “real” world. Scott wants to ask what kinds of incomplete un-doings, what kinds of work, even failed work, fantasies of powerful or triumphant blackness might do. A significant portion of fantasy’s usefulness, he will suggest, lies in its being a queer practice, or its working with the queer aspects of blackness.

Towards Somatic Communism: Regenerating 1970s Body Politics in the Trans Fictions of Paul B. Preciado

Towards Somatic Communism: Regenerating 1970s Body Politics in the Trans Fictions of Paul B. Preciado

4 December 2017

Dr. Elena Dalla Torre (Assistant Professor of French, Italian and Women and Gender Studies at Saint Louis University)

Sponsored by the Department of European Studies, the College of Arts and Letters, and the LGBTQ Research Consortium.

Blake Little’s Photographs from the Gay Rodeo

September 1 to November 30

Experience the grit, determination, and tumbles of the gay rodeo circuit with this exhibition of photographs that explores a time-honored American tradition. Rendering the story in classic black-and-white imagery, Blake Little captures scenes of camaraderie, identity, and intimacy in an expansive redefinition of what a cowboy can be.

Film Country People and filmmaker

29 September 2016

Featuring: Dr. David Bobrow

Tom Davies LGBT Warrior: The Road to the Courtroom

5 October 2016

A Multifaceted View of Gender Identity that is Cis- and Trans*-Centered

12 October 2016

Dr. Charlotte Chucky Tate, San Francisco State University

"Base Camp": Irony, Gaiety, and Queer Environmental Performance

20 October 2016

Featuring: Dr. Nicole Seymour, California State University Fullerton

The Erotics of Artificiality

2 November 2016

Featuring: Dr. Yetta Howard, English and Comparative Literature Department, SDSU

Punk musician, author, educator, and feminist archivist Alice Bag

16 November 2016

Same-Sex Love and Desire among Muslim Women

11 Feb 2016

Prof. Huma Ghosh (Women's Studies)

Dr. Huma Ahmed-Ghosh is Professor and Chair of the Department of Women's Studies at San Diego State University. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies and the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies . Her research focuses on women in Afghanistan, Muslim immigrant women to the USA, and Islam and feminism.

Novelist Garth Greenwell (finalist for the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Fiction)

13 April 2016

LGBTQ Research Consortium Symposium: Queer Entanglements: Interdisciplinarity and LGBTQ Studies

29 April 2016

Featuring keynote lectures by Juana Maria Rodriguez, UC Berkeley and Anthony Ocampo, Cal Poly, Pomona

Invisible and Ambiguous Bodies: An Analysis of Asian Americans in Orange Is the New Black

Dr. Minjeong Kim (Department of Sociology, SDSU)

16 Sept 2015

In this presentation, I critically examine the two Asian American characters --Chang and Soso-- whose bodies are marginalized and ridiculed in the setting of women’s prison named Litchfield Penitentiary. Many mainstream films and television shows that have attempted to tackle racial issues or represented racial diversity have failed to present meaningful images of Asian Americans and perpetuated unflattering, stereotypical representations of Asian American characters. Despite both characters’ queerness--Chang’s androgyny or genderqueer, and Soso’s same-sex intimacy, this presentation argues that the show has yet to challenge racial images. The presentation discusses various issues related to Asian American images in popular culture, such as American orientalism, intersectionality, and representation of Asian American LGBTQ and interracial intimacy.

Young, Effeminate, and Strange: The Debut of Truman Capote

Dr. Jeff Solomon (Department of English, USC)

1 Oct 2-15

How did young Truman Capote, a gay writer who closeted neither his person nor his writing, succeed amidst the homophobia and censorship of 1947? This talk will explore how Capote vaulted himself into celebrity through a campaign of photographic self-representation that portrayed him as young, effeminate, and strange—a triad of broad queerness that both broadcasted and disguised Capote’s homosexuality and climaxed with the spectacular notoriety of the dust jacket of his first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms.

"What’s Your Gaydar Telling You?": Untangling Gender and Sexual Orientation in Gaydar Research

Dr. Arianne Miller (Department of Counseling and School Psychology, SDSU)

29 Oct 2015

Over the past 30 years, “gaydar" has moved from being a popular in-group term used among LGBTQ communities, to a concept and phenomenon that is the focus of scientific study. This talk discusses recent findings and trends in gaydar research. Recent studies, for example, provide evidence that gaydar may exist, yet they also have the tendency to use gender nonconformity as a proxy for homosexuality and to use gaydar as a means of establishing homosexuality as a visually detectable identity. The talk will address how the research masks gender diversity among gay and straight individuals as well as reproduces traditional racialized archetypes of femininity and masculinity.

Conference: The Coming of Age of LGBTQ Studies: Past, Present, and Future Directions

April 17-18, 2015

The Consortium hosted a national conference at SDSU centered on LGBTQ research. The key note speaker was given by Dr. Karen Tongson (USC).

Nicaraguan LGBT History

5 May 2015

Dr. Victoria Gonzalez-Rivera

Professor Gonzalez-Rivera will talk about her latest book project, a co-authored account of Nicaragua’s LGBT history from the early twentieth century to the present. The lecture will address the tensions inherent in writing a book that documents the history of LGBT activism, as well as the lives of regular people who tried very hard to avoid being caught by the historical record.

Erotics of Disproportion: Suicide and the Golden Gate Bridge as Anti-Memorial

17 Feb 2015

Dr. Yetta Howard

This talk explores the Golden Gate Bridge as an unlikely memorial to the suicidal subjects who have jumped to their deaths from it. Building on the question of memorializing via bodily architectures and queer phenomenology, Howard turns to experimental documentary to theorize the erotic potentials of suicidal relationality.

Public Health Research on Substance Use in LGBT Populations

Dr. Heather Corliss

2 March 2015

Advances in public health research have led to the identification of disparities in unhealthy substance use and substance use disorders in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations compared to heterosexual cisgender populations. This presentation will summarize the major findings from this body of research, describe what we know about potential causes, and discuss the public health community's response to addressing these disparities.

Attitudes Toward Sexual Minorities: A Social Psychological Perspective

19 March 2015

Dr. Allison Vaughn

Research on attitudes toward sexual minorities reflects the multifaceted nature of attitudes as well as the diversity of this inclusive group. Attitudes contain cognitive (i.e., stereotypes), affective (i.e., prejudice), and behavioral (i.e., discrimination) components in both their formation and expression. This talk will focus on the use of two social psychological models to examine attitudes towards sexual minorities: the Stereotype Content Model and the Behaviors from Intergroup Affect and Stereotypes map.

Literature: A Case of White Supremacy

12 Nov 2014

Acclaimed novelist Michael Nava will discuss his new work The City of Palaces, a tale of interwoven lives: Miguel and Alicia; José, a boy as beautiful and lonely as a child in a fairy tale; the idealistic Francisco Madero, who overthrows Díaz but is nevertheless destroyed by the tyrant's political system; and Miguel's cousin Luis, shunned as a "sodomite." A glittering mosaic of the colonial past and the wealth of the modern age, The City of Palaces is a story of faith and reason, cathedrals and hovels, barefoot street vendors and frock-coated businessmen, grand opera and silent film, presidents and peasants, the living and the dead.

Sappho's Erased Sexuality: Lesbian Lyrics and Early Renaissance Humanism

11 Sept 2014

Lecture by Prof. Walter Penrose, History

Although Sappho was revered as the greatest woman poet of all time by the Greeks, in late antiquity and the Middle Ages, Sappho was vilified for her sexuality. In the initial stages of the Renaissance, however, humanists “rehabilitated” Sappho’s virtue in a Christian context where same-sex love was considered an “unmentionable” vice. In this context, Sappho's love for other women was simply not mentioned. Desperate times call for desperate measures: Sappho was perhaps the most famous and skilled woman who had ever lived, and her example was pivotal in the Humanist quest to improve the lot of women in the late medieval era, a time of extreme misogyny. At the apex of this effort, Sappho's skill was used to argue that women were better than men by Bartolommeo Goggio. Sappho was an extraordinarily gifted individual, the prototype "Lesbian," and, in Goggio's reading, a member of the "first sex."

We Were Never Meant to Survive: Coalition Building in Queer Times

25 Sept 2014

Lecture by Prof. Andreana Clay, Sociology, San Francisco State University

This talk focuses on the necessity of coalition building between the LGBTQ community and communities of color. These communities, often viewed as separate, ignore both the intersections of racialized and queer identities for queer people of color as well as the shared experiences of surveillance, violence, and loss. Prof. Clay's goal is to identify and understand these links in order to bridge and build strategies for coalition and social change.

Challenges and Opportunities in Studying the Longest "Legal" Same-Sex Couples in North America

Lecture by Prof. Esther Rothblum, Women's Studies

8 Oct 2014

In the year 2000, Vermont became the first state in the U.S. (and before any province of Canada) to legalize same-sex relationship in the form of civil unions (same-sex marriage would not be legal until 2005 in Massachusetts). This longitudinal study follows several hundred couples over time: same-sex couples who had civil unions in Vermont during the first year of that legislation, same-sex couples in their friendship circle who did not have civil unions, and heterosexual married siblings. The study focuses on couples who have since gotten married as well as those that have terminated their relationship, focusing on a number of demographic, psychological, and relationship variables.

The Queer Life of Diaspora: Race, Religion, and Resistance in Colorblind Europe

23 Oct 2014

Lecture by Prof. Fatima El-Tayeb, Literature, UCSD

This talk takes a comparative approach to processes of radicalization in order to both complicate US-centric readings of (post)raciality and to challenge notions of a colorblind Europe. Focusing on translocal queer of color activism across the continent, Prof. El-Tayeb traces racialized communities’ resistance to a system of neoliberal multiculturalism that is as present on the continent as in the US.

Queer Accents & Linguistic Identity

15 April 2014

Professor Doug Bigham (Linguistics)

Transnational Skype Conference Intersectionality and Advocacy in SOGI and LGBTQIA Communities

16 April 2014

Join us for a transnational Skype conference between San Diego State University and the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa on intersectionality and advocacy in SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) and LGBTQIA communities. Through examining the intersectional nature of identities and communities, including the interlocking oppressions and systems of privilege embedded in them, we hope to better understand our differences as well as what unites us.

Documentary filmmaker Christie Herring

12 March 2104

Ms. Herring will screen her acclaimed film The Campaign, which focuses on the Proposition 8 campaign from the perspective of those working to prevent its passage. The screening will also include an opportunity for a question-and-answer discussion with Ms. Herring.

"An illness we catch from American women?": Lesbian Identities and Migration

8 April 2014

Professor Emeritus Oliva Espin

Why is there Same-Sex Marriage in Argentina? A Comparative Analysis of Recent History of Sexuality and LGBT politics in Latin America and the United States

5 March 2014

Professor Pablo Ben (History)

Dr. Anna Muraco, from Loyola Marymount University (Sociology)

13 February 2014

Dr. Muraco will be giving a lecture focused on her research with LGBTQ populations. She will discuss her recently published book, "Odd Couples: Friendships at the Intersection of Gender and Sexual Orientation" (Duke UP), and she will also discuss her current research, which focuses on LGBTQ seniors.