“There hadn’t been a queer series yet…”


Gustave M. Berne Professor of Philosophy
IRWGS Core Faculty
IRWGS Director, 2000-01

One thing that I liked about it—I learned a huge amount. I was very eager to be around a lot and oversee activities, especially for undergraduates. But I felt, as a person identified as straight, that it would be really interesting to push queer stuff. It’s kind of unbelievable but it’s true, that even in those days—and I can’t remember exactly when, it might have been 2002—that the word queer was surely used, and there were lots of people on campus who were quite committed to queer issues, but there hadn’t been a queer series yet. I just thought, let’s do it. We did it and it was a great success and I think there’s been something like that series ever since.I felt that there—and I still do actually feel—that sometimes there’s not quite enough attention given just to students, and what life in the trenches, so to speak, is like. Patricia [Dailey] and I have actually really tried to think a good deal now about how to make what we do more available to students.

One thing that’s true, and this is what I learned as a director, is that a lot of students don’t want to major in women’s studies because they’re majoring in a couple of other things often, but they’re happy to concentrate or do gender and feminism. I think, as a director, what was really good is getting a sense of that: the need to attend to undergraduates in a little bit more robust way than we traditionally had. That has been put on hold a little bit sometimes because I wasn’t involved so much, but now I think—especially working with Patricia—we’re really paying attention to that.