|Public Information Office
310 Owen Hall, Campus PO 1820
Asheville, NC 28804-8507
828/251/6526 FAX: 828/251-6142
|For Immediate Release
February 3, 2000
UNCA to Host Third Annual Gay and Lesbian Studies Conference
The University of North Carolina at Asheville’s third annual Gay and Lesbian Studies Conference, "Performativity/Body/Performance: Theorizing and Acting the Body," will be held Friday-Sunday, Feb. 18-20, on the UNCA campus. The conference will feature presentations by established scholars and students as well as an evening of theater. It is sponsored by UNCA's Office of Academic Affairs, the Cultural and Special Events Committee, the Mills Distinguished Lecturer Fund, UNCA-Out!, the Humanities Program, Enrollment Services, and the departments of Classics, Philosophy, and Sociology.
Marjorie Garber, Harvard University professor of English and director of Harvard’s Humanities Center in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will give her keynote talk, "Sexing the Squash, or Visualizing Bisexuality" at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, in Owen Conference Center. The author of three widely admired books on Shakespeare, Garber has also published dozens of articles and several books of cultural analysis, criticism and theory.
One of her best known books, "Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing and Cultural Anxiety," was praised by the New York Times as "erudite and exhilaratingly well-argued" and by the London Observer as "an intellectual blockbuster." Her most recent title, "Symptoms of Culture," a collection of essays on topics as diverse as greatness, "Gentleman's Agreement" and antisemitism, the Scopes trial, and the history of Roman numerals, has been praised as "witty and erudite" by Bookforum, which said, "Garber is a master at reading the mass-cultural sign."
Lesbian and gay studies emerged as an academic discipline in the 1970s. With the rapid growth of scholarly and critical work in the field, graduate and undergraduate classes in gay/lesbian studies have emerged across the country. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force estimates close to 50 gay and lesbian studies programs have been established in U.S. colleges and universities.
"This conference is an exploration of the ways that culture works to conceptualize the body and how the body forms a basis for gender and identity through a variety of performative acts. In addition to serving as an exciting forum for the exchange of ideas between scholars, students, and members of the community by treating a variety of themes from a variety of perspectives, the conference will also make an important contribution to the ongoing discussion concerning diversity at UNC Asheville," said Michael Jones, UNCA assistant professor of classics and a conference coordinator.
The conference will open with a reception from 3 to 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, in UNCA’s Laurel Forum. Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday will feature 44 scholarly presentations by faculty and students from across the U.S., including the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Chicago, George Washington University, the University of Minnesota, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro, Davidson College, Clemson University, Georgia State University and UNCA. Among the topics to be addressed are lesbian identities, the politics of drag, stage performance and the gay male, and issues of sexuality, race, and class.
The focus will shift to live theater at 8 p.m. Friday for "Lesbians Live: An Evening of Performance," featuring the spoken word and video, in UNCA’s Humanities Lecture Hall.
Fee for the entire conference is $50. Admission to the keynote address only is $10, paid at the door. College students may attend for free with current student identification. For more information, call Michael Jones, UNCA assistant professor of classics, at 251-6294. To visit the conference website, go to <www.unca.edu/glsc>.
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