Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Volume 7, Issue 2
spring 2017
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Moe Gardner
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

LGBT Studies Research Fellowship 2016/17


Ludmila Janion was selected from a record-number of applicants for the 2016/2017 LGBTS Research Fellowship. She traveled from Warsaw to spend a month at Yale, conducting research for her PhD. Her reflection follows:

It was a great honor and pleasure for me to be awarded a 2016/2017 LGBT Studies Research Fellowship at Yale University. I spent a fruitful and inspiring month not only doing my research in the infinitely rich Yale libraries, but also taking part in numerous scientific and social events on the Yale campus.

The main aim of my research was to study American conceptualizations of gender variance, i.e. gender identity or expression that is deemed atypical for the sex assigned at birth. In my PhD thesis, I want to establish how American concepts of gender variance developed and how they were transferred and adapted to the Polish environment. The preliminary findings are, for example, that the role of American sexology in shaping trans discourses was much more prominent in Poland than in the US, and that free market capitalism greatly advanced identities of cross-dressing men. I conducted my research in the Manuscript and Archives at Sterling Memorial Library, and in the Beinecke Library, where I browsed and documented American LGBTQ press and ephemeralia.  I also spent numerous long evenings in the cozy armchairs of Bass Library, reveling in books unavailable in Poland. In all these places, the Yale library staff was of great help, always leaving me impressed with the quality of their service.

Thanks to the efforts of prof. Marta Figlerowicz and David Kurkovskiy, it was possible for me to give a lecture on my own research and take part in a workshop on LGBT history in Eastern Europe. I was also able to attend a Symposium on 20th-century European anti-gay politics and meet in person several splendid LGBT, American, and Slavic studies scholars.

Besides the scholarly endeavors, I was happy to visit Yale Museums and Galleries, where I could ponder over the quirks of evolution and feast my eyes on exquisite paintings.  A delightful evening in Schubert Theater with Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte performed by Yale students, as well as a splendiferous winter masquerade ball further enriched my short but prolific stay. I’d like to thank the staff, faculty, and friends who made my time at Yale a truly enriching and unforgettable experience, especially Maureen Gardner, Marta Figlerowicz, Ola Konarzewska, and David Kurkovskiy.
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