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Teaching Queer America

Trinity College Queer America students visiting the Christopher Street Piers in New York City. CC BY-NC Jack Gieseking 2016.Trinity College Queer America students visiting the Christopher Street Piers in New York City.       CC BY-NC Jack Gieseking 2016.

This spring I taught two incredibly exciting courses. The senior seminar, Queer America, was comprised of a small group of students, primarily from our American Studies program. This is my second senior seminar at Trinity College and my first full-semester lgbtq studies course. Of course, the latter is the more shocking of these components: all of this queering I’ve been up to and I’m only just achieving this beautiful moment. I taught Queer(ing) New York with the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies with their Seminar in the Series course in 2013.

The course was framed around the following questions: What is queer about America? What can be and has been queered about America? What, if anything, is not queer about America?

I was really energized and excited to see …

Advice for Grad Students: How to Respond to Peer Review

You say: Ack! You are going to submit something you wrote! To a journal! This is happening!

I say: Good for you, friend!

Wow, you did it. You wrote something and you sent it into the ether of peer review and three months to two years went by and, suddenly! (because it feels that way), your peer review is back. Quite like my most recent post on How to Do Peer Review, it is just as important to think about how to respond to peer review. Junior researchers and scholars can especially get bent out of shape–cough, cough, myself included–when overwhelmed by criticism and critique, some of which is inevitably at odds at one another.

This post includes some steps (below) on how to reply to peer review and keep a sane distance in the process, all the while producing a clear, tight, and logical series of responses that …

Advice for Grad Students: How to Do Academic Peer Review

A grad student friend of mine called in a panic a few months ago asking how to do a peer review. “Should I say yes? Is this a good thing? Is this just free labor? How the hay do I even do one of these things?!?!?!?!”

I admit the last question floored me until I recalled that I took a class with the amazing Barbara Katz-Rothman and Juan Battle when at the Graduate Center CUNY that explained this process to me. As a cultural geographer, I begged my way “Writing for Sociologists” and it made my academic life so much easier. To write this post, I reached out to colleagues about how they do peer review. I also draw on my experience as admin associate of WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly for three years and my service on multiple editorial boards to offer some best practices / shortcuts / ways to …

Appearing on the BBC World Services

"Beyond Binary" Documentary. BBC World Services. April 2016.“Beyond Binary” Documentary. BBC World Services. April 2016.

I am honored to share that insights from my research were heard around the world for two minutes on August 23rd, 2016, in the BBC World Services “Beyond Binary” documentary. If you care to listen me especially, I am a minute 10. You can hear me speak about my new research on trans use of Tumblr. For about two years, I’ve been collecting data on the use of the #ftm hashtag and, for a shorter time, #mtf hashtag on Tumblr. I came upon the world of trans Tumblr, as I call it, in 2010 when I was choosing my own new name. I found a tightly-knit network of trans people who are otherwise unanchored through their geographic diaspora. You can click here to read more about that research project.

Here’s more on the “Beyond Binary” documentary from the BBC World …

New Research Project: Trans Tumblr

For about two years, I’ve been collecting data on the use of the #ftm hashtag and, for a shorter time, #mtf hashtag on Tumblr. These oft used trans hashtags, standing for female-to-male and male-to-female respectively, drew my attention as I was coming into my own trans identity. I came upon the world of trans Tumblr, as I call it, in 2010 when I was choosing my own new name. I found a tightly-knit network of trans people who are otherwise unanchored through their geographic diaspora. They were mostly very young, publicly sharing and connecting about the everyday violence and life milestones, accomplishments and losses that fuel life in general and trans life specifically. I was particularly struck by the small number of voices that dominated the conversation, as well as the suicide notes that would float to the surface and the resounding and instant response of those around them …

My Recommendation Writing Policy, and Advice on How/When/Who to Ask

Semester after semester, I find myself receiving an increasing number of requests to write recommendation letters. They are a pleasure to write. Unfortunately, my students often appear confused about who to ask or feel nervous to ask so that they send their requests at the last possible minute, thereby leaving me with little time to write the best letter for them. Another dilemma is that undergraduates often have never asked for letters and fail to supply all of the needed information, or do not know how to tell me the story of what they need and how they need it. Yet another issue is that students do not know the labor involved or the depths to which professors and others go in writing such letters.

In my new Pedagogy sub-page, “My Recommendation Writing Policy,” I share my recommendation writing policy with my Trinity students and also offer advice on how,

‘To be associated in space,’ or: a delightful misreading

My dear friend and colleague, Maggie Galvan, put up a post some time ago with a pretty powerful quote from feminist, queer, critical race, and postcolonical theorist Gloria Anzaldúa:

According to Edward Hall, early in life we become oriented to space in a way that is tied to survival and sanity. When we become disoriented from that sense of space we fall in danger of becoming psychotic. I question this—to be disoriented in space is the ‘normal’ way of being for us mestizas living in the borderlands. It is the sane way of coping with the accelerated pace of this complex, interdependent, and multicultural planet. To be disoriented in space is to be en nepantla. To be disoriented in space is to experience bouts of dissociation of identity, identity breakdowns and buildups.
I misread the final line as: “To be associated in space is to experience bouts of …

Why are all the queers sitting together at the conference? Or, reflections on AAG 2016

The American Association of Geographers and Sexuality & Space Pre-Conference meetings took place in San Francisco last week. I’ve been back in Hartford a week and still feel like I’m getting my sea legs back after six days of conferencing. The Sexuality & Space Pre-Conference served as a great kick-off for the week and allowed to catch up with or connect to geographers of sexualities on their research-in-process. I reflect on the great papers and ideas I heard throughout the week and, most importantly, the segregation and diversity of the meeting, and how we must come together even further to create truly rigorous and diverse scholarship.

I took part in four exciting sessions during the week. In the first two, “Dilemmas III: Institutionality, Queers, and City Exclusions and Negotiations” and “Queering code/space: difference, disorientation, and the digital,” I acted as discussant for papers from scholars ranging from Sarah Schulman to …

Heading to ASA 2016

Excited to share the great news that our panel, “Geography, Maps, and Visions of Home in the Classroom,” organized by Eric Covey (U Miami) and including the likes of Elizabeth Belanger (Hobart & William Smith College), Anita Elizabeth Huizar Hernandez (U Arziona), and Patrick McGreevey (American University of Beirut). The abstract is below. It will be wonderful to think about the place of geography in the American Studies pedagogy and contribute to its teaching including and beyond the role of maps through conversations about the meaning and role of space, place, and environment. What is the geographical imagination of American Studies in the research we teach and discuss, and in the assignments we give students that allow them to shape their own understanding of the world and its practices and processes? What geographical imagination should we offer them in order to produce more justice worlds? The abstract for the session …

Speaking at Eulogy for the Dyke Bar in NYC

Eulogy for the Dyke Bar, March 2016. PULSE at 125 W. 18th Street, New York, NY. CC BY-NC-SA Macon Reed 2016.

I’m in NYC again, walking around among the places where it seems everyone I knew over the last 16 years in this city used to be able to afford to live. What a perfect frame of loss and longing, transition and possibility in which to speak as part of the weekend long events on the Eulogy for the Dyke Bar (EFTDB) at PULSE today. EFTDB is an installation by artist and queer Macon Reed: a fully-immersive structure that revisits the legacies and physical spaces of dyke bars, an increasingly rare component of the contemporary queer cultural landscape. Made of simple materials and seductively saturated colors, Reed’s hand-made installation includes a full bar, pool table, jukebox, and wall-to-wall wood paneling.

I am honored to be part of that

Didn’t I Just Get Here? Or: Reflections on My First Tenure-Track Semester

Whoa. It was August 1st and a chemist friend (god bless you, Ryan) and I are in a U-Haul on I-495 wrapping around Boston ever so slowly creeping to I-90 and then I-84 until we see Hartford on the horizon and I say, “That’s my new city, buddy!” Yes, Hartford has an actual skyline and I was ready to be romanced by this urban tract. As much as I learn and love about the city, I admit it’s tough at times as Hartford is dependent upon and revolves around car commuter culture attached to suburbs (which make up a large part of the State of Connecticut). Over the course of the semester, I’ll make some great connections and breakthroughs, and also connect to activists who want to change that dynamic. Looking for permanent housing–also: whoa and FINALLY–allows you to really get to know a place like you have not before…not …

Joining the Editorial Board of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers

I am honored to announce that I’ve accepted an invitation to join the editorial board of the leading US geography journal, Annals of the Association of American Geographers. A hub for truly important and ground-breaking research and blissfully not managed by Elsevier, I hope to contribute to policies of open access, grow our digital presence, peer review a lot of fantastic work, and help grow the beautiful field of geography within the public and academic eye alike.

In the fall of 2013, I published the first book review in the Annals on the topic of lgbtq geographies and geographies of sexualities. Mind blowing. And it’s only up from here, team!

 

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Reflecting on the 1980s Course

Belinda Carlisle was right: heaven is indeed a place on earth. For me that would be the  experience of teaching my American Conflicts and Cultures in the 1980s course. I, of course, equally loved my Digital Image of the City course as I discussed earlier, but teaching the 1980s was just…fun? Perhaps it’s that as a child of the 1980s, I could step back in time and make recent policy, legal, and social shifts resonate in the bodies and minds of young people born in the late 1990s. Actually, it was attaining that learning objective with a group of really incredible, curious students that was all the fun.

In this post, I’ll share how the course unfolded and how I structured teaching a decade so that it mattered to my students. As a project of public humanities, students worked together to build a timeline of the key events of the …

Reflections on The Digital Image of the City: Hartford 2015

The Digital Image of the City, American Studies, Trinity College 2015. Standing, left to right: Andrew Fishman ’16, Madelaine Feakins ’16, Rick Naylor ’16, Dalton Judd ’16, Assistant Professor of American Studies Jack Gieseking, and Callie McLaughlin ’16. Seated, left to right: Molly Mann ’16 and Georgianna Wynn ’16. CC BY-SA-NC Trinity College 2015.The Digital Image of the City, American Studies, Trinity College 2015. Standing, left to right: Andrew Fishman ’16, Madelaine Feakins ’16, Rick Naylor ’16, Dalton Judd ’16, Assistant Professor of American Studies Jack Gieseking, and Callie McLaughlin ’16. Seated, left to right: Molly Mann ’16 and Georgianna Wynn ’16. CC BY-SA-NC Trinity College 2015.

As the new semester is upon us–how did that happen so quickly?–I wanted to reflect back on my courses from last semester. I had a beautiful first semester at Trinity College, thanks mostly to those incredible faculty, staff, and students with whom I spend my days.

My senior seminar, The Digital Image of the City, which was a huge success–or so said the students on the final day, all smiley as they were on the last day (and as you can see on the image in the left)! I share a short explanation about …

Gender & Geography Bibliography Hackathon a Success!

As I just wrote on the Gender & Geography Bibliography (GGB) website, during Geography Awareness Week in mid-November 2015, over 49 individuals and groups participated in the Gender & Geography Bibliography Hackathon! Over a 1,000 new entries–many of them sorely missing books, book chapters, and articles, a large number of which are blissfully not in English–now fill the GGB. Thank you to all who participated and cheered us on!

For those of you who still want to take part in the Hackathon, follow these instructions which explain in more detail how to head to our group at https://www.zotero.org/groups/gendergeog/ and request to join and Jack Gieseking (lead admin) will get a note to add you. From there, you and perhaps your friends–perhaps this is the new wild idea for wine night amongst the feminist dorks among us?? how fantastic–and follow the directions in previous posts. Email jack DOT gieseking …

Sharing My MA Thesis: Aggression in the Quaker Meeting for Worship

Over ten years ago, I spent a year pursuing the role of the instinct for aggression–the instinct to act, behave, take part, stand up, speak out, and so on–in my masters thesis, “’Ecstasy Has Been Given to the Tiger:’ Aggression in the Quaker Meeting for Worship,” which I share below.

ABSTRACT. Together, aggression and Quakerism are two seemingly disparate aspects of the intersection of psychiatry and religion. Society generally encourages disavowing aggression because of its incitement of and pairing with hatred and violence. Quakerism is branded at the other end of the spectrum as entirely passive for its silence (in the worship service) and dedication to peace (evident in its renowned social justice efforts). Yet aggression and Quakerism are intrinsically and necessarily intertwined for any religion’s healthy survival. Drawing upon work by Winnicott, Holbrook, and Ulanov to theorize the place of aggression in Quaker Meeting, I use William James’ method …

Details for the Gender & Geography Bibliography Hackathon

I am delighted to share that the Gender & Geography Bibliography Hackathon will take place November 15th-21st, 2015. A hackathon is a time when a group of people come together to work on a digital project, usually by coding and creating content for an app or website. Skills and time involved are minimal. The outcome is a profound source of public knowledge across fields, as well as training in the citation management software, Zotero.

We are eagerly seeking faculty, students, staff, & citizens who want to take part any time and anywhere during the week of 11/15 to add to and edit the now 3,000+ large online, citation database of feminist geographic sources. We are particularly keen to have folks contribute books, book chapters, and multimedia citations from across disciplines, and we are extremely eager for contributions of non-English materials. Folks can work on their own or form their …

Slides & Handout from OA Panel at Trinity College

We had a rousing conversation about the merits of open access (#OA) during Open Access Week at Trinity College. My presentation focused on how I came into OA and the key resources that make a busy faculty member or graduate student’s entrée into sharing their research publicly as part of the open education movement. I include my slides and the handout I shared below. After an introduction from our digital librarian Amy Harrell, I was joined by my colleagues Jack Doughtery in Urban Education Studies, and Charles Lebel in Language and Culture Studies in brief individual presentations followed by a conversation with our faculty.

Download (PDF, 52KB)

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Speaking about Gender Fluidity in Fortune Magazine (Oct 2015)

I was interviewed earlier this year by Fortune Magazine regarding trans* issues in the workplace, and was quoted in their article yesterday, “What it’s like to be young, gender neutral and in the job market.” I had an incredible conversation with journalist Vivian Giang this spring and I am delighted, relieved, and inspired to see that she is writing about these issues for the business community. As always, I am deeply honored to be able to talk about trans* issues publicly.

To read more about transgender people’s experience of navigating bathrooms, see the following:

Browne, Kath. 2004. “Genderism and the Bathroom Problem: (Re)Materialising Sexed Sites, (Re)Creating Sexed Bodies.” Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography 11 (3): 331–46. doi:10.1080/0966369042000258668.
Trans*H4CK. 2015. “Trans*H4CK.” Trans*H4CK. http://www.transhack.org/.