WGSS Graduate Colloquium & Working Group


The Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Graduate Colloquium is a venue in which Yale graduate students from a wide range of disciplines present work that engages women’s studies, feminism, gender and sexuality studies, lesbian and gay studies, and queer studies. At the Colloquium, graduate students give academic talks, present syllabi, discuss pedagogy, and engage in roundtable discussions on pressing issues and questions central to the field of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, with much lively discussion to follow.

The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Working Group is a subsidiary of the Colloquium. The purpose of the Working Group is to foster interdisciplinary discussion about current issues in the field of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies by bringing together graduate students and and faculty at Yale who are working on topics at the intersection of their discipline and WGSS. This venue aims to introduce recent work in a variety of disciplines and to strengthen our understanding of how our own work might engage with emerging debates in this field.

2021/22 Co-conveners: Daniel Swain and Alexandra Thomas

Spring 2022 Working Group Calendar

February 21 - Professor Joshua Chambers-Letson presents: One More Try (or, Teacher, There Are Things That I Don’t Want to Learn): Reparative Melancholia and Queer Grief

Please join the first WGSS Working Group of the semester Monday, February 21st, 5:30-7:00 PM via Zoom (our permanent link for the semester), (https://yale.zoom.us/j/2718503064) for a discussion with Professor Joshua Chambers-Letson. 
Joshua Chambers-Letson (she/they/he) is Professor of Performance Studies and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University and, for the ’21-’22 academic year, a Presidential Fellow and Visiting Professor of Theater and Performance Studies at Yale University. Widely published in the areas of contemporary art and performance, critical race theory, and queer of color critique, they are the author of After the Party: A Manifesto for Queer of Color Life (2018), A Race So Different: Law and Performance in Asian America (2013), as well as a host of academic articles, book chapters, and exhibition catalogue essays. With Tavia Nyong’o, Chambers-Letson is the editor of José Esteban Muñoz’s The Sense of Brown (2020) and with Christine Mok the coeditor of Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s China Trilogy: Three Parables of Global Capital (2021) and—with Ann Pellegrini and Nyong’o—a series co-editor of the Sexual Cultures series at NYU Press. Chambers-Letson is currently working on two book projects: a meditation of the aesthetics of queer love and loss and a study of the dynamics of racial object relations in contemporary art and performance.

March 28 - Professor Elleza Kelley
April 11 - Visiting Lecure: Devon Borowski in conversation with Prof Jessica Peritz
April 25 - Professor Fatima El-Tayeb The Universal Museum: How the New Germany Built its Future on Colonial Amnesia

Please join the WGSS Working Group on Monday, April 25th, 5:30-7:00 PM via Zoom (our permanent link for the semester), (https://yale.zoom.us/j/2718503064) for a discussion with Professor Fatima El-Tayeb. There are two recommended readings, one is available via link here and the other is attached to this email as a PDF. 

Fatima El-Tayeb joins Yale as Professor of Ethnicity, Race & Migration and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She arrives from the University of California, San Diego where she was a member of the departments of Literature and Ethnic Studies and director of Critical Gender Studies. She received an MA in American Studies and Modern European History and a PhD in History from the University of Hamburg, Germany. Her research interests include Black Europe, comparative diaspora studies, queer of color critique, critical Muslim studies, decolonial theory, transnational feminisms, visual culture studies, race and technology, and critical European studies. Her publications deconstruct structural racism in “colorblind” Europe and center strategies of resistance among racialized communities, especially those that politicize culture through an intersectional, queer practice.

She is the author of three books - Schwarze Deutsche. ‘Rasse’ und nationale Identität 1890 – 1933 (2001), European Others: Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe (2011) and Undeutsch. Die Konstruktion des Anderen in der postmigrantischen Gesellschaft (2016) and numerous articles on the interactions of race, gender, sexuality, religion and nation, most recently “‘The Universal Museum.’ How the New Germany built its Future on Colonial Amnesia” in Nka. Journal for Contemporary African Art and “Beyond Trigger Warnings: Safety, Securitization, and Queer Left Critique” with Neel Ahuja, Paul Amar, Aniruddha Dutta, Kwame Holmes and Sherene Seikaly, in: Social Text 38/4: Left of Queer. She is currently co-editing (with Maria Stehle) a special issue on Time, Urgency, and Collaboration in the Corporate University for Feminist Formations. Her ongoing research projects explore the intersecting legacies of colonialism, fascism, and socialism in Europe and the potential of (queer) people of color alliances in decolonizing the continent. In addition to her academic work, she co-wrote (with Angelina Maccarone) the Black lesbian screwball comedy Alles wird gut/Everything Will be Fine (1997) and is active in Black feminist, migrant, and queer of color organizations in Europe and the US.

Spring 2022 Colloquium

FEBruary 7

Caitlin Casiello (EALL & Film): Erotic Labor: Japanese Film and the Sexuality of Birth
From live births to medicalized sexploitation, pregnancy and birth have frequently intersected with eroticism and obscenity in Japanese film. Looking at the imported Danish film We Want A Child (1954), erotic film Abortion (1966), and documentary Extreme Private Eros Love Song 1974 (1974), I trace tensions between sex, birth, and visibility using theoretical frameworks established by Japanese feminists.  
Eden Rea-Hedrick (ENGL & WGSS): “Write me out, Doady”: Feminist Revision and Creative Authority in Armando Ianucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield
Armando Ianucci’s recent adaptation of David Copperfield undertakes a metacinematic feminist reimagining of David’s “child-wife” Dora. Yet the film’s emphasis on reinterpreting David’s story as a Kunstlerroman ultimately undermines a similar revision of its other leading lady, Agnes. This paper examines how Iannucci’s adaptation tries - and why it fails - to transcend the trope of the “supporting” female love interest.
March 7

Amanda DiMiele (RLST): Feminism’s Serious Sentimentality
Recent popular trans feminist criticism by Andrea Long Chu and Elena Comay del Junco serve as case studies for what it would mean to neither defend nor disavow sentimental attachments. Drawing on queer negative critiques of conventional politics, I suggest this practice could mean deflationary effects on political subjectivity important for reducing harm in organizing and activism.

Adora Svitak (SOCY): Problems in the History of Female Orgasm

“Problems in the History of Female Orgasm” proposes two methodological approaches for engaging critically with the scientific study of female orgasm: Ian Hacking’s “making up people” to understand how sexological research categorizes women, and Sara Ahmed’s The Promise of Happiness to interrogate how the orgasm discourse relies on the “happiness imperative.”
Mondays at 5:30-7pm (Zoom links will be sent to the list serv in advance of presentations.)