Event Title

"This is a Closed Space for Queer Identifying Folx": Queer Spaces on Campus

Presenter Information

Tory Sparks, Oberlin CollegeFollow

Location

King Building 341

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-28-2017 4:30 PM

End Date

4-28-2017 5:50 PM

Abstract

Using data from 27 interviews conducted in Fall 2016, I will show how students at Oberlin College construct queer-only spaces as sites for the formation of their queer identities. This is done through three discourses: the rhetoric of safe spaces; the ambiguity of queer as an identity label; and the positioning of a space as open or closed based on self-identification. Thus, in entering a space in which participation is contingent upon self-identification with the category “queer” (as it pertains to non-heterosexual and/or non-cis identity), students at Oberlin College are co-producing their queer identities while simultaneously forming “queer spaces.” This paper looks at 1) the ways in which Oberlin students identify as and define queer, 2) the rhetoric of queer spaces and how they are defined, talked about, advocated for, and advertised, 3) problems Oberlin students encounter with creating and participating in these queer spaces, including those specifically experienced by students of color and gay men, 4) the ways students understand and navigate through the concept of and rhetoric around “safe spaces,” 4a) how all of these factors are dealt with through a contradicting and yet reconcilable engagement with identity politics and queer theory, and 4b) how Oberlin Students are unique queer figures within a Foucauldian genealogy of queerness as always in relation to a norm.

Keywords:

queer, sexuality, space

Notes

Session III, Panel 16 - Marginalized | Communities
Moderator: Greggor Mattson, Director of Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies and Associate Professor of Sociology

Link to full text thesis at OhioLINK ETD Center:
http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=oberlin1494365911006662

Major

Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies; Anthropology

Award

Jerome Davis Research Award; Leah Freed Memorial Prize

Advisor(s)

Greggor Mattson, Sociology
Amy Margaris, Anthropology

Project Mentor(s)

Greggor Mattson, Sociology
Bogdan Popa, Politics
Patrick O'Connor, Hispanic Studies; Comparative Literature

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Apr 28th, 4:30 PM Apr 28th, 5:50 PM

"This is a Closed Space for Queer Identifying Folx": Queer Spaces on Campus

King Building 341

Using data from 27 interviews conducted in Fall 2016, I will show how students at Oberlin College construct queer-only spaces as sites for the formation of their queer identities. This is done through three discourses: the rhetoric of safe spaces; the ambiguity of queer as an identity label; and the positioning of a space as open or closed based on self-identification. Thus, in entering a space in which participation is contingent upon self-identification with the category “queer” (as it pertains to non-heterosexual and/or non-cis identity), students at Oberlin College are co-producing their queer identities while simultaneously forming “queer spaces.” This paper looks at 1) the ways in which Oberlin students identify as and define queer, 2) the rhetoric of queer spaces and how they are defined, talked about, advocated for, and advertised, 3) problems Oberlin students encounter with creating and participating in these queer spaces, including those specifically experienced by students of color and gay men, 4) the ways students understand and navigate through the concept of and rhetoric around “safe spaces,” 4a) how all of these factors are dealt with through a contradicting and yet reconcilable engagement with identity politics and queer theory, and 4b) how Oberlin Students are unique queer figures within a Foucauldian genealogy of queerness as always in relation to a norm.