Graduate Students Explore Forms of Desire

Last April, QUNY (the association for queer students at the The Graduate Center, CUNY) and CLAGS co-sponsored Forms of Desire: The Seventh Annual Queer Graduate Studies Conference, showcasing the research of more than 100 graduate students from across the country and around the world. With panels on such topics as “Sexuality and the State,” “Pre-Modern Sexualities,” “Lesbian Erotics,” “Reading Bisexualities,” “Queer Ethnographies,” “AIDS and Its Narratives,” “Queer(ing) Masculinities,” and “Homo Hollywood,” the conference approached the growing field of lesbi_an/ga~/q_ue~r studies from a variety of disciplinary and rnterdrscrplrnary perspectives. In addition to paper presentations, a number of special events were staged for a large audience. On April 3, Wayne Koestenbaum, author of The Queen’s Throat and Sarah Schulman, author of Rat Bohemia and M; American History, read from their work. That evening featured a political round table on the politics of knowledge in queer communities moderated by Paula Ettelbrick, CLAGS Board Member and Legislative Counsel for Empire State Pride Agenda. Discussants included Jeffrey Escoffier (writer and activist, Joo-Hyun Kang (Audre Lorde Project), Carmen Vazquez (lesbran and Gay Community Services Center), and Maxine Wolfe (lesbian Herstory Archives). Many of the themes from the evening’s discussions were picked up by Jill Dolan the following afternoon in her keynote address, “Translations: Audiences and Constituencies for Lesbian/Gay/Queer Studies.” Leslie Feinberg, author of Transgender Warriors and Stone Butch Blues, delivered the final conference address, “Theory: The Crystallized Resin of Action.” The outrageous downtown performance artist Carmelita Tropicana hosted a performance cabaret on Friday, April 4, and participants packed CBGB’s Gallery form Homo*Sonic, a celebration of queer music that concluded the conference on April 1 s. QUNY hopes to continue to work with CLAGS in building a community of queer graduate students at the Graduate Center, beginning with a revival of Homo*Sonic on September 20 to be hosted by Cecilia Saint. For more information about QUNY and how to become involved, contact CLAGS’s graduate student representatives, Linda Camarasana and Robin Hackett.