Except at the most benighted establishments very little of this happens in
the US. Of course, the US equivalent to "new univerities," the state
systems, are now very established and very cosmopolitan and for the most
part have far too much political and economic clout to succumb to
homophobic pressure from the outside, which has in the recent past been
more of a problem.
[To get a sense of the power they hold, consider that the University of
Arizona (chosen at random because I used to live a block away from it) has
something like 36,000 students. Add faculty and staff and the population
must be something like 60,000. Add spouses and children and the number is
surely over 100,000, all of them shopping in the local malls. This in a
city of 700,000. Arizona is a very conservative state, and there are
waves, but nobody wants to rock the boat too hard.]
This has not always been so, of course. I'm really talking about the
situation since the 70s.
It is simply inconceivable that research focusing on gay studies would be
On the other hand, gay students on some campuses still have to be very
careful for their safety and somewhat careful even on the most liberal
campuses. State universities draw students primarily from the states in
which they are found, and the student bodies reflect the local culture far
more accurately than either administrations or faculties.
At 08:23 PM 5/4/2003 +1000, you wrote:
>Robin kindly sent me the name of some queer poets in the UK. Thanks
>Robin, I did a google and find this...
># I was warned that I brought my personal life to work too much by
>Gregory Woods in The Times Higher Education Supplement, 18th. September,
>1998, No. 1350, page 18. "When I was recently appointed to the first
>British professorship in gay and lesbian studies, I got crank mail from
>rightwing political groups and Christian fundamentalists."
>"However, the real assault on gay studies is more insidious: it comes
>from within the education system itself. The commonest response to my
>promotion was to dismiss what goes on in 'new' universities such as
>Nottingham Trent as 'trendy'. Implicit in this sneer is the original
>complaint about the decision to let the polys become universities at
>"Gay academics also have to get used to the accusation of narrowness. It
>may be desirable to spend a whole career on Jane Austin's novels or the
>reflexes of the frog. That is specialisation. Yet to build a career in
>gay studies is to indulge a personal obsession. The faculty committee
>that discussed my professorship fussed over the same objection. I had
>just published a book dealing with 3,000 years of culture. But could
>this compensate for the narrowness of the queer issue?"
>"We are rarely encouraged to follow the intellectual directions we
>choose, and they are subsequently held against us. In my case, a late
>1970s PhD on gay literature was an effective barrier to employment. I
>accumulated a long list of those supposedly 'liberal' institutions that
>made it clear they were not interested in fostering 'that sort of
>thing'. Some campuses are still dangerous places for obviously gay
>"When I was finally given a long-term contract I was warned that I
>brought my 'personal life' to work too much. Nobody at work knew
>anything about my life, but heterosexual colleagues were incessantly
>going public with their latest liaisons. I was also told that employing
>me was 'a bit like having a religious fundamentalist on the staff'."