Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!


jfwright's picture

"Called Me Crazy": Insanity and Non-Normative, Butch Identities

See video

          As Eli Clare describes in Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation, queer identity has been treated as madness, and queer people have been pathogized and condescended to for centuries:

“[q]ueer identity has been pathologized and medicalized. Until 1973, homosexuality wasconsidered a psychiatric disorder. Today transsexuality and transgenderism, under the names of gender dysphoria and gender identity disorder, are classified as psychiatric conditions. Queerness is all too frequently intertwined with shame, silence, and isolation…[q]ueer people deal with gawking all the time: when we hold hands in public, defy gender boundaries and norms, insist on recognition for our relationships and families…Queer people have been told for centuries by church, state, and science that our bodies are abnormal” (Clare 2009:112-113).

See video
chelseam's picture

Claiming the Stare: Jes Sachse and the Transformative Potential of Seeing

                                 Claiming the Stare: Jes Sachse and the Transformative Potential of Seeing

                                       American Able - Holly Norris                     "Crooked" Tattoo


  We all love to look. While staring is most commonly thought of as an act to be avoided or ashamed of, Disability and Women’s Studies Scholar Rosemarie Garland-Thomson argues that the stare at its best actually has the potential to create new meanings and more open societies.  The stare as Thomson defines it, has the potential to help us redefine the language we use to describe each other and ourselves, create space for the often-excluded in communities, and craft our own identities. The stare is most dynamic and productive when the subject of the stare, the staree, is able to wield some control over the interaction and in doing so present their story to the starer.

Amophrast's picture

(In)visibility with Sex, Gender, and (Dis)ability: Correcting Images

"I think being invisible is the only superpower that doesn't have a downside."

Someone said this to me as I was working on this webpaper, trying to construct an argument about queer invisibility and and the invisibilities of disabilities. My thought process crashed to a halt--she hadn't even seen my brainstorming.

"What makes you say that?"

She told me that flight can lead to motion sickness, mind reading can be overwhelming, super strength can cause someone to break another person's bones when simply trying to give them a hug. As far as this goes, I can see how invisibility doesn't have any downfalls.

Except for the fact that you don't exist.

lgleysteen's picture

Nonverbal Communication as an Unclear Symbol of Gender and Identity


Most of the discourse about human communication is centered on the importance of the spoken word.  Although verbal communication tells us a lot about our society, body language can portray our true intentions. The individual body is always constrained by the social body because every action the individual does has been imprinted in their minds by culture. People are raised and socialized to interpret each other’s bodies as a series of symbols.  Almost every movement an individual does, whether it is crying, laughing, winking, smiling, or shrugging their shoulders is socially constructed.  Without following the example of other people, these movements would have no social significance.  The social significance of types of body languages in not a cultural universal and it is not portrayed and understood by all people.  One given signal cannot be interpreted the same way across cultures.  What social conditions occur when certain symbols are assumed to be universal, even though they cannot be universally expressed?

charlie's picture

Portraying the Naked Woman

The topic of women as artists is one that has been discussed many times throughout history. Linda Nochlin, art historian, once wrote an article entitled “Why have there been no great women artists?” which explored this very subject. The Guerrilla Girls added to this topic by pointing out that when most women are featured in a museum, it is for being a nude subject in a painting rather than for being the creator of the masterpiece. Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Ingres’ The Grand Odalisque, and Valie Export’s GenitalPanik are all works featuring a female nude subject. A uniting theme among them is the portrayal of the nude women as “freaks”. When a woman, especially a nude woman, is portrayed as a freak, her sexuality and her gender are seen differently.

Kaye's picture

3rd annual LGBTQ Womyn of Color conference: Fertile Ground. Womyn Revealed, Revived, Renewed

Temple University Student Center:  Fri (10/7) starts at 1pm, Sat (10/8) starts at 9 am; Sun (10/9) starts at 9 am.  Keynote speakers:  Sonia Sanchez, Ifalade Ta'Shia Asanti, Gloria Casarez.

Tickets are necessary. This event is being co-sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Women's Studies Consortium, of which Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges are members.  The student price is $20. GPWSC students receive an additional $5 discount, bringing the cost of admission to $15. To receive the discount, students should register for the student rate at and enter the code "GPWSC" when they check out.

Also, scholarships are available! All you need to do is send an email to expressing their desire to attend the conference and their financial need.

For more information:  email or call 610-297-4282

Kaye's picture

Symposium: New Directions in Feminism and Queer Studies

A chance to hear other scholars discuss the intra-actions among gender, sexuality, and other fields.  This Friday, September 30, at UPenn 1:30-6:30 in the Benjamin Franklin Room of Houston Hall. 

From their website:  The Symposium will examine the fields of feminist and queer studies and their intersections with each other and with topics in race, nationalism, empire, and class. The afternoon will begin with a conversation between Professor Heather Love, University of Pennsylvania, and Professor Ann Cvetkovich, University of Texas at Austin. Ann is the author of Mixed Feelings: Feminism, Mass Culture and Victorian Sensationalism (Rutgers, 1992) and An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Culture (Duke, 2003).  

Kaye's picture

Sex and Gender Differences in Cognition and Neurobiology

I just received an announcement about this very relevant conference that is being held at Drexel University College of Medicine on Thursday, October 27, 2011 from 9 am - 4 pm.  Regisration is free.  Please see the website for more information. 

Amophrast's picture

Mind your Ps and Qs

I'm an English major, gen/sex minor, and creative writing concentrator. Gen/sex and queer issues have always been of interest to me though I've never really figured out why. I was involved in my high school's Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) and I'm involved in the Rainbow Alliance here at BMC. This interest in queer issues more or less a first in my immediate family. When I applied to intern at several AIDS organizations in Philly, I can quote my parents saying: "What is your connection to the gays? Are you aware of their wild and crazy parades?" to which I replied, "Yes, and I have practically been in some of them."

Syndicate content