Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Volume 1, Issue 2
Spring 2011
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editor, John-Albert Moseley
Layout Design: Nick Appleby

WGSS Colloquium and Working Group for Graduate Students, 2010-2011

By Natalie Prizel, Grad ‘15, English and Emily Johnson, Grad ’14, History

Chandra Prasad
Poster design by Jessica Svendsen, BA '09 MFA '13
This fall semester WGSS graduate students participated in scintillating discussions and presentations. Both the Working Group and the Colloquium series endeavor to further the development of a strong community and an expanding interdisciplinary conversation among WGSS graduate students.

Working Groups:

We had three excellent working groups this year, two of which featured new members of our community. GerShun Avilez (Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies) led us in reading Philip Brian Harper's Private Affairs, a book that examines the ways in which race, class, and sexuality complicate our understanding of privacy. Next, Natalie Prizel, a graduate student in English and WGSS and the convener of WGSS working group, led us in discussing Anjali Arondekar's For the Record: On Sexuality and the Colonial Archive in India. It was particularly opportune moment to talk about Arondekar’s book so soon after her visit to campus.

We kicked off the spring semester with a great conversation about nostalgia, futurity, methodology, and sexuality informed by Jose Esteban Munoz's Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. Serena Dankwa (Sarah Petitt Doctoral Fellow in LGBT Studies) spearheaded a spirited discussion of Rahul Rao's Third World Protest: Between Home and the World, a text that explores the relationship between western NGO's and third world activists.

Emily Johnson, graduate student in History and WGSS Colloquium Convener, concluded the year with a discussion on R. Marie Griffiths's Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity, which examines religious diet cultures in the United States.


We had five colloquia this year, each showcasing the fascinating work and diversity of interests among graduate students in our qualification program. We started the year with a presentation by Natalie Prizel (ENGL) on the metaphorical uses of fever in nineteenth and twentieth century literatures about New Orleans, followed by Rebecca Henriksen’s (ISM) presentation on evangelist Rick Warren’s partnership with Rwandan president Paul Kagame. The breadth of our program is reflected in the variety of subjects covered including gay activism in the United Presbyterian Church (USA) (Gerardo Con Diaz, HSHM), sex differences in rhesus macaques (Kelly Hughes, ANTH), ethnographic research on a New Haven community (Dana Asbury, SOC), and Reclaiming Witches and Radical Faeries (Catherine Telford-Keogh, MFA). The spring semester kicked of with a discussion that touched on issues of religion and female celebrity, thanks to presentations by Shari Rabin (RLST) – on gender, Judaism and female preaching in the nineteenth-century United States – and Sarah Koenig (HIST/RLST) on the anti-vice campaign of Portland, Oregon’s first woman mayor. In February, we heard presentations from Brian Distelberg (HIST) on the rhetoric of gay activists after the Second World War, and Michelle Morgan (AMST) on John Ashcroft and the Lady Justice statue controversy. Our final colloquium looked at queer Caribbean art and performance (Ana Lara, AFAM/ANTH), and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American fiction (Tom Koenigs, English).
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