Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants: Reflections From A Young Scholar

Back in November 2005, I was working on a paper for Ros Petchetsky’s
“Body Politics” class at Hunter College and I found myself running into
all sorts of problems in accessing information about queer
political movements and the discourses surrounding them.
In a frenzied moment, I emailed Paisley Currah, and he was
kind enough to offer his time as well as CLAGS’s materials
for my research. I was grateful for the support that Paisley
provided and for the resources made available by CLAGS.
As a way to express my appreciation, I asked Paisley if there
was anything I could do for CLAGS. Paisley told me about
an internship opening—someone was desperately needed to
document every single event CLAGS has
ever produced. Since my initial dilemma
was fi nding resources like this collected
in one easy-to-access space, I thought it
fi tting that I lend a hand.
While I was defi nitely excited about
the project, I will admit that I was initially
anxious about the project: I am no archi-
vist. But I took advantage of the opportunity documenting
the history of CLAGS events and made some observations
about the waxing and waning of different academic topics
presented under the rubric of queer studies. Digging through
old newsletters, I had a lot of moments like, “how
did I miss that Crossing Identifi cations confer-
ence? …Oh, right I was eight years old when that
happened.” So, while I was still down in North
Carolina dressing up like the Wicked Witch of
the West, fabulous queer thinkers were up here at
CLAGS carving out a queer academic space for my gay self
to grow into.
In addition to providing an outlet for me to give back to
those wonderful queer scholars and activists who came be-
fore me, this archiving project also inspired me as a young
queer who fancies himself an aspiring academic. In other
words, admiring the work of folks who have been involved
with CLAGS in the past has made me excited about partici-
pating in what our ever-changing queer communities decide
to offer in the future.

Taylor Black, a student at Hunter College, interned at CLAGS in Spring 2006,
combing through and documenting CLAGS’s archives to create a list of every
(every!) event that CLAGS has hosted in the last fi fteen years. Although the list
is far too long to reproduce in CLAGSnews, look for it soon on our website at
www.clags.org. Taylor writes here of his experience of examining fi fteen years
worth of lesbian, gay, trans, and queer scholarship.