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

Fall 2021 Working Group Calendar

October 4 – Gail Lewis, Visiting Professor of WGSS. Join via Zoom at https://yale.zoom.us/j/2718503064
November 1 – Scott Herring, Professor of American Studies, and WGSS

Please join the WGSS Working Group on Monday, November 1st, 5:30-7:00 PM via Zoom (https://yale.zoom.us/j/2718503064) for a discussion with Professor Scott Herring. 

He will be discussing the introduction of his forthcoming book, Aging American Moderns (Columbia University Press, forthcoming). The introduction spells out its main arguments and details the prospects of critical age studies for modern/ist aesthetics and American literary and cultural studies. It moves in three parts: a general overview of its major claims; a theorization of geromodernism with respect to late-onset disability studies; and an archival review of U.S.-based modernities and their often-underappreciated connection to longevities and experimental aging. Artists discussed or emphasized include Mabel Hampton, Faith Ringgold, Tillie Olsen, Zora Neale Hurston, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Kay Boyle, among others. 

The PDF is available to the Yale community through this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GH3AM3kDaRkFP6C_LJA4d6v_VEa5pr-g/view?usp=sharing

Scott Herring (he/him) is Professor of American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. His primary research focuses on the overlap between LGBTQ studies and American literary and cultural studies, with particular interest in critical rural/regional studies, critical age studies, and material culture studies. He is the author of The Hoarders: Material Deviance in Modern American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2014); Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism (New York University Press, 2010), winner of a Lambda Literary Award; and Queering the Underworld: Slumming, Literature, and the Undoing of Lesbian and Gay History (University of Chicago Press, 2007). Columbia University Press will publish his next book, Aging American Moderns, in 2023.

November 29 – Kalindi Vora, Visiting Professor of Ethnicity, Race, & Migration, and WGSS

Fall 2021 Colloquium

october 18
Elizabeth Berk (Anthropology): “Viral Subjects: Stigma, Civil Society Activism, and the Making of HIV/AIDS in Lebanon
How do people living with HIV/AIDS in Lebanon experience this condition in light of civil society activism to overcome social stigma? Are sexual identities and practices reframed as a result of diagnosis? This presentation comes out of my dissertation on HIV/AIDS in Lebanon, and will address the reshaping of sexual identities and practices following diagnosis with HIV.
Chloe Sariego (Sociology and WGSS): The Heteronormalization of Sex Cells: Blood, Genes, and the Transmission of Birthright Citizenship in Dvash Banks v. Pompeo
BQueer theory regards homonormativity and neoliberalism to be operating in tandem. However, a recent case study suggests that this alliance belies a more basic contradiction between queer family-making and the state’s renewed interest in managing citizenship through reproductive relationships. This particular conflict, between state-backed, property-based family structures and international fertility markets, further calls into question the compatibility of national citizenship and global capital, the private reproductive citizen and the free-market actor, and legal parents and “genetic parents”.
november 15
Candace Borders (American Studies): “Towards a Method of Refusal: Black Women’s Housing Activism in St. Louis
This paper focuses on the activism of public housing resident Jean King, leader of the 1969 St. Louis public rent strike. It argues that the significance of King’s organizing does not lie solely in her ability to redirect the power of the state but rather in her refusal of homeownership. Ultimately, this paper theorizes that thinking with a lens of refusal can lead to more expansive ways of understanding the multiple textures and impacts of Black women’s activism beyond what we glean from dominant methods of movement history..
Ciru Wainaina (English): “Desiring Forms: Queering Creoles from The Lonely Londoners to Harare North
This paper wonders whether it is possible to produce a Black queer formalist reading of Brian Chikwava’s Harare North. It argues that Chikwava deploys a ‘queer creole’ that distorts the temporal and geographic bounds that encircle Eurocentric epistemologies of ‘world literature’. Further, the author claims that the impetus to translate for universal legibility, as typified by Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners, is replaced by a veiled, affective intimacy that conceals more than it reveals in Harare North.
december 13
Neboja Todorovic (Comparative Literature): “From Bacchae to Bacchanalia: Rethinking Europe’s Borders through Greek Tragedy
Two conceptual territories bracket Europe’s imaginary geography: Greco-Roman Antiquity and the modern Balkans. In an attempt to theorize the complementary ways in which the Balkans and Greek Antiquity are intertwined in the European Imaginary, this paper sets a dialogue between Goran Stefanovski’s Bacchanalia, a 1996 Macedonian unpublished adaptation of Euripides’ Bacchae, and the Euripides’ play.
Giovanni Miglianti (Italian): “Awkward Fiction: Notes on a Queer Primo Levi

Tropes of embarrassment and scandal are driving motifs in Primo Levi’s short fiction. While his Holocaust testimony relies on a rather normative understanding of the male/female binary, this paper will analyze some of his short stories as a place of stylistic experimentation on queer notions of gender.


Mondays at 5:30-7pm (Zoom links will be sent to the list serv in advance of presentations.)