Colloquium Coverage

CLAGS’s second annual year of hosting a Graduate Student Colloquium kicked off with
a bang as Robert Kaplan (pictured) presented a portion of his dissertation work in his
talk, “The Federalist Papers and the Bonds of White Men in the Vision of the New Nation.”
Kaplan, a PhD student in English at CUNY’s Graduate Center, whose work looks at the
question of national identity in post-revolutionary America through male-male relationships,
spoke more specifically about the Federalist Papers and the importance of reading them as
propaganda. Through an exploration of philosophers like Locke, Hutchinson, and Smith,
Kaplan argues that gendered meanings are deeply imbedded in this historical text, and that,
as a tool of propaganda, the Papers, originally a serial publication, helped to reinforce the
ruling class as “an elite movement of webs of white men.”
At an October colloquium session, CUNY theater professor David Savran argued that
Jane Bowles’s play In the Summer House “illuminates the structure of heterosexuality.” And in
November, Dutch scholar Gert Hekma and East Timorese graduate student Joaninha de
Araujo Quintao — both invited to the working meeting on an International Resource Network
— shared a colloquium platform. Quintao showed ancient indigenous images of women’s
powerful sexuality and described how such imagery and ideals had been suppressed in
recent centuries; Hekma detailed the limitations of Dutch tolerance for gays and lesbians and
called for a true sexual revolution. u