UNCA to Host Fifth Scholarly Conference on GLBT Studies March 21-22;
Keynote Performance Artist, Writer Tim Miller to Present "Glory
The University of North Carolina at Asheville will host its fifth Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies Conference March 21-22 on the UNCA campus. The theme of this year's conference is "Citizen Queer," with papers, workshops and performances exploring the inclusion and exclusion of GLBT individuals in a variety of social contexts, and GLBT activism and resistance within and outside institutions of higher learning.
This national conference brings together scholars from across the country and includes nearly 30 faculty and student presenters, and representatives from such universities as
UNC Chapel Hill, University of Georgia, Vanderbilt University, San Francisco State University, University of Massachusetts, George Washington University, Macalester College and Binghamton University.
The conference is sponsored by UNCA's Academic Affairs and Student Affairs divisions, the Office of Diversity and Minority Affairs, the Office of the Chancellor, Underdog Productions (a student programming group), and the Drama and Sociology departments.
The keynote performer, internationally acclaimed gay artist Tim Miller, will perform "Glory Box" at 8 p.m. Friday, March 21, at UNCA's Belk Theatre. The performance, which includes strong adult themes and language, explores immigration rights of gay and lesbian couples, and Miller's own experience with a society that he believes does not recognize his identity and his own bi-national relationship. Miller is the author of two books, including "Body Blows: Six Performances by Tim Miller" (University of Wisconsin Press) and "Shirts & Skin" (Alyson Publications). He teaches theatre at the University of California Los Angeles and at California State University Los Angeles and is co-founder of two performance spaces, Performance Space 122 in New York City and Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica.
Miller has performed all over North America and Europe, including at the prestigious Yale Repertory Theatre, The Institute of Contemporary Art (London) and The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis). In addition, Miller has performed at a number of colleges across the country, including Colorado College, Grinnell College, Wake Forest University, Hamilton College and Oglethorpe University.
While Gay/Lesbian Studies has been an established academic discipline since the 1970s, the use of "queer" in the title of the conference may be surprising to some. "The use of the word ‘queer' in academic circles refers to the efforts of GLBT individuals to reclaim their marginalized status through reclaiming pejorative language," said conference co-organizer Keith Bramlett, who teaches sociology at UNCA. "The word queer is necessarily ambiguous. The re-appropriation of the word queer is based partially on the idea that its use strips it of homophobic power while emphasizing the difference between what you call yourself and what other people call you. Queer refers to self-identification. In a sense, queer should only be used in the first person."
Registration for the conference ranges from $65 for the general public to $40 for undergraduate students, with fees covering all performances, workshops, sessions and breakfast on Friday and Saturday. Advanced registration is strongly recommended.
Those who wish to attend Miller's "Glory Box" but not the entire conference may purchase tickets in advance for $12 at Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville. No tickets will
be sold at the door. Miller's performance includes strong adult themes. Those under 17 must be accompanied by a parent and identification will be required.
Visit the conference Web site or call 828/232-5021 for ticket and registration information.
- Merianne Epstein, UNCA Public Information Director, 828/251-6526 (office); 828/257-5501 (pager)