Kenyon is proud to announce the inaugural conference for queer and transgender studies on Saturday, April 6, 2019. The conference is free-of-charge and open to undergraduate and graduate students both at and outside of Kenyon. Community members are also welcome to attend.
The Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference is a new biennial conference. Sponsored by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the conference developed from a need to provide a place for queer and trans scholarship, activism and community building. The conference is built upon a model of interdisciplinarity, intersectionality and equity.
The Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference includes four tracks:
Each of these carefully selected tracks encompasses the desire to facilitate spaces for discussions about queer and trans issues in distinct areas of scholarship and everyday life.
Recognizing the unique set of identities throughout the broader LGBTQ+ community, the Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference also offers drop-in networking/socializing spaces for queer and trans people of color. These dedicated spaces are offered throughout conference sessions with the intent of creating intersectional spaces exclusive to attendees, who may want intra-community discussions throughout the day.
The Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference models itself on practices of equity building. The conference is free to eliminate some economic barriers that may prohibit students from attending, and it will include free breakfast and lunch, with the understanding that food insecurity is often an issue in marginalized communities. The conference will also utilize accessible spaces across campus when possible.
The conference is both intended to be intersectional and interdisciplinary in scope. For this reason, the conference organizing committee welcomes proposals for a variety of LGBTQ+ topics and presentation formats. Examples of presentation formats include: panel discussions with multiple people (either submitting proposals together or separately), workshops led by one or multiple presenters, performances, and interactive facilitated discussions on a specific topic. Each session for the conference will be 45 minutes long, and there will be four sessions held throughout the day.
To submit a proposal, complete the proposal form by Friday, Dec. 21. After that date, the conference organizing committee will make selections and notify presenters by late January. The schedule will be shared before the start of the conference.
As this conference is modeled on accessibility and equity, there is no registration fee, and free breakfast and lunch will be provided to all attendees. While this conference is aimed at engaging undergraduate and graduate students in Ohio, both students from out of state and community members are welcome to register.
To register for this year’s conference, complete the registration form by Friday, March 15. After that date, the conference organizing committee will send out some preliminary information about the conference, including the schedule and information about accommodations near campus for those who will be travelling from out of state.
As a part of the on-going commitment to ensure that the conference provides support for LGBTQ+ attendees, a number of practical resources will be available in coordination with the conference co-sponsors.
This year’s conference will include a free HIV testing clinic provided by the Knox County Health Department. Unity House and the Crozier Center for Women will provide free safer sex kits, and information about safer sex, PrEP and PEP will be available courtesy of Gilead Sciences. Equitas Health and Trans Ohio will host a free gender and name change clinic, and they will also offer opportunities for free financial assistance to those who need it.
To learn about additional resources, please check this webpage as the conference approaches.
Sa'ed Atshan of Swarthmore College will deliver the keynote address, focusing on the importance and impact of queer and trans studies in today's sociopolitical climate.
Atshan is an assistant professor of peace and conflict studies at Swarthmore College. He previously served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. He earned a joint Ph.D. in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies, a master's degree in social anthropology from Harvard University, and a Master in Public Policy (MPP) degree from the Harvard Kennedy School. He received a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore in 2006. His research interests are at the intersection of peace and conflict studies, the anthropology of policy, critical development studies and gender and sexuality studies. He has two forthcoming books with Stanford University Press: "Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique" and "Paradoxes of Humanitarianism: The Social Life of Aid in the Palestinian Territories."
Additionally, Atshan has been awarded multiple graduate fellowships, including from the Open Society Foundations, National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Woodrow Wilson National Foundation, Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. He is also the recipient of a Soros Fellowship and a Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace. He has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union, the U.N. High Commission on Refugees, Human Rights Watch, Seeds of Peace, the Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department, and the Government of Dubai. He is Quaker, grew up in Palestine, and he is also an LGBTQ rights activist. Atshan serves on the board of the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality, a Beirut-based organization that supports LGBTQ populations across the Middle East/North Africa region.
The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Kenyon has a number of on-campus and community co-sponsors, who will assist with various aspects of this inaugural conference.
On campus co-sponsors include Unity House, the Crozier Center for Women and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Community co-sponsors including the Human Rights Campaign of Columbus, Equitas Health, the Knox County Health Department and Trans Ohio among others. Additional campus and community co-sponsors will be announced prior to the conference.
Additionally, funding for portions of the conference has been generously provided by the Kenyon Campus Community Development Fund and the Student LGBTQ+ Diversity Fund.