Visiting Scholars Series

The Visiting Scholars Series was developed
out of the plethora of exciting
proposals we received from U.S.-based
and international scholars and researchers
who wanted to present their
work through CLAGS. Three scholars
were chosen to present on widely varying
topics in divergent fields of study,
drawing together a diverse group of
scholars, artists, and community
members.
For more information on how to become
a CLAGS Visiting Scholar, visits our
website or email clags@gc.cuny.edu.
PRESENTATIONS
“Word Is Out and the Gay Liberal Turn”
Greg Youmans
Queer film scholar Greg Youmans (UC Santa
Cruz) presented a lecture about the groundbreaking
1977 gay and lesbian documentary
Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives.
Youmans discussed the role Word Is Out
played in the gay-rights struggles of the
late 1970s and the contributions of the film
to the rise of a U.S. gay national imaginary
and the consolidation of gay liberalism
during the era, as well as its relationship
to other queer media projects of the 1970s
that took different aesthetic forms and had
conflicting political aims.
“Queer Inhumanism”
Chrysanthi Nigianni
In her presentation, Chrysanthi Nigianni
mobilized queerness as primarily an act
of jeopardizing our poststructuralist convictions
and our theoretical and political
edifice grounded on secured notions of
freedom, radicalism, difference, and margins
(the latter sustaining a humanist
philosophical tradition), calling for the escape
from queer’s normalization within the
routes of the inhuman, the a-subjective, the
pre-personal as alternative scripts standing
outside the Law of Language, the Law
of the Father, and the the Law of the Hu-
Man. Rather than making claims for broader
participation, or for wider recognition, a
“becoming-minoritarian,” Nigianni argued,
will create a space for the singular to be
voiced and heard.
“Doubting Sex: How bodies Changed
and Selves Appeared in Nineteenth-
Century Hermaphrodite Case Histories”
Geertje Mak
In her lecture, Geertje Mak showed that
hermaphroditism itself changed profoundly
over the course of the nineteenth century,
noting that until the 1860s, in cases of
doubt, a person’s sex was medically examined
on the basis of outer appearance and
the patient’s own statements mainly. In the
first half of the century, policies of secrecy
and containment prevailed, protecting a
person’s initial inscription as man or woman
in society in order to avoid social disorder
and dislocation. Increasingly, an urge to reveal
the ‘inner truth’ of the body emerged.
This had to be understood and ‘managed’ in
its relation to an interiorized sex of the self.
The physician’s role thereby transformed
from being an expert arbiter in cases in
which doubtful sex caused a social problem,
into offering medical-psychological
advice and therapy concerning the individualized
problem of the relation between body
and self.