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Women and Gender Studies Brown Bag: 'Queer Work, Oral History, and Civilian Access'

Tuesday, 29 October, 2019

The Department of Women and Gender Studies (WGS) will hold a Brown Bag talk and discussion from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct.29, in Room 144, McGannon Hall.

Anne Balay, Ph.D., of the, will present, “Queer Work, Oral History, and Civilian Access.”

Talk Abstract

During an oral history session, a sex worker told Balay that, "I'm aware of this whole other world that other people don't really even know exists." Queer workers cluster in blue-collar, criminalized, geographically isolated, stigmatized jobs both because they like them and because that's where they can get hired. These jobs exist in plain sight, saturating our everyday worlds, yet they are somehow overlooked -- invisible.

This talk explores what it means to see these workers. However, seeing is only the first step, and hearing is often harder. How do you reach the people who sex workers call "civilians" -- those not participating in the culture and part of the other world that it generates? How do you meet this group of people, engage them in conversation, and hear what they say?

Balay will tell stories about their work with queer steelworkers, truckers, and sex workers that unpacks what queerness means in these places and times, and how it contributes to the revolution.

Each semester the WGS department sponsors a brown bag lunch series at which speakers present their research and engage the audience in discussion about the topic. The topics vary, as do the disciplines of the speakers and the points of view they represent. These informal settings provide opportunities to learn about the range of Women's and Gender Studies scholarship and to meet students and faculty with similar interests.

Participants should bring their lunches.

A snack and drinks are provided.

The session is sponsored by the Department of Women and Gender Studies and SLU’s Rainbow Alliance.