MHS Calendar of Events
This panel discussion considers the queer histories of two modern institutions: colleges and prisons. Marc Stein explores how activists at more than twenty colleges went to court in the 1970s to challenge their institutions’ refusal to recognize LGBT student groups. Stein’s paper analyzes these cases and situates the successful litigation at Virginia Commonwealth University in relation to contemporaneous Virginia rulings that upheld the criminalization of same-sex sodomy and the prosecution of an interracial threesome. Ashley Ruderman-Looff’s essay considers the Lavender Scare's impact on women's prison reform. Her essay tells the story of Dr. Miriam Van Waters, a superintendent of the Massachusetts Reformatory for Women who was dismissed from her post in 1949. This paper analyzes Van Waters’ subversive use of the Rorschach inkblot test, allowing her to eschew homosexual diagnosis and include queer women in the reformatory’s rehabilitative programs.
The History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Seminar invites you to come join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.
Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.