Director’s Letter

As I reach the end of my first year as Executive
Director of CLAGS, I am astounded
by how much CLAGS has achieved since
last July (mostly without my assistance, I have to
admit!). After years of planning and months of
“last-minute” debugging, the International Resource
Network, a global network for scholars of
sexuality, launched its groundbreaking, innovative
website. Now researchers around the world can share
resources, collaborate on projects, receive feedback, and (especially
important for academics in isolated or even hostile workplaces)
create scholarly community. Over a hundred people have already created
profiles and begun uploading to the site. I encourage you to do the
same, or at the very least visit the website at to check out the
amazing work that’s going on there., an equally original project, has moved from a
concept to an almost-completed free, accessible, educational website on
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history. From the early days of
uploading one image after another and gathering materials, OutHistory.
org promises to be a site unlike any other: a rich and deep archive
of queer materials supporting detailed “exhibits” on themes as varied as
lesbian theatre in New York, queer Chicago, Early American sexualities,
and genderbending postcards from the end of the nineteenth century.
Beyond the virtual realm, CLAGS sponsored a real world convocation
of LGBT archivists, librarians, and museum and special collections
curators at the LGBT ALMS conference over the course of three days
this May. We ended the semester with a one-day conference cosponsored
with Visual AIDS that explored the past, present, and future of AIDS
art, activism, and prevention. And, of course, the year was packed full
of panel discussions, film screenings, colloquia, Seminars in the City, performances,
and more.
I list this plethora of events not just to toot CLAGS’s horn (although
that might be part of my motivation…). Rather, it is to marvel in what
a few people with a passion for intellectual inquiry and queer lives can
do with limited resources. After all, you might not know that CLAGS
has no full-time staff: our work is done by a few dedicated part-time
staff members and our hardworking (volunteer) board members. Our
budget comes in large part from your membership dues. And yet, even
with the restrictions our staffing, space, and finances put on us, CLAGS
is committed to bringing the best, most exciting, newest, most innovative
work in LGBT studies to light – to find and present the scholarship,
performance, and research that most stirs our imaginations. As I look
forward to the 2008-2009 academic year, I hope that CLAGS will only
grow in ambition. With your help, I know we will.