The Department of American Studies presents the 2016 Collected Stories and Twice Told Tales Keynote Lecture. Christina Hanhardt, Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, will be presenting "This is Not a Safe Space: Cities, Classrooms and Critique"
In 2015, debates about so-called safe spaces found their way into the mainstream. A concept previously most associated with social and health services, on-line forums, and activist subcultures, the term became both rallying call for student organizing all across the country and shorthand for media pundits bemoaning what they saw to be the shortsighted goals of contemporary youth activism. And despite the now wide circulation of the term, the majority of public commentators attribute the concept to the history of feminist and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) political organizing. In fact, debates about safety have been a central issue in LGBT politics, and have been anchored in claims to space, in particular in urban neighborhoods since the 1970s. This talk explores the relationship between these two trajectories – between calls for “safe space” in restructuring cities and in restructuring universities – highlighting the at once central and vexed role of LGBT/queer communities and activism. Hanhardt also asks what this history reveals not only about social movements, cities, and sexual politics during this period, but also about the status and uses of queer critique today.
Dr. Hanhardt is the author of Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence. There will be a reception beforehand from 5:00-5:30PM in the 7th floor hallway. This event is open to the public. Please RSVP here. Non-GW affiliate guests will need to bring an ID to show at the front desk of Gelman Library. We hope to see you there!