University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

Lecture: Constellations of Queer History in NYC, 1983-2008

Thursday, November 15, 2018
12:30pm – 1:45pm

Storrs Campus
Rainbow Center; Student Union 403

The Out to Lunch Gender, Sexuality, and Community is a weekly academic lecture and discussion series with guest scholars and community activists from various disciplines examining a variety of topics related to gender identity, gender expression, and sexuality. Each semester offers a broad sampling of the areas.

Today's lecture is entitled, "Constellations of Queer History in New York City, 1983-2008" and it will be presented by Jack Gieseking (he/him/his).

Synopsis: In The Practice of Everyday Life, de Certeau writes that “What the map cuts up, the story cuts across.” But what if the everyday stories you seek are already cut up by centuries of structural inequality and oppression, such as those of lesbians and queer women? Further, does “not tiny” data ever qualify as big enough when marginalized people do not have the resources to produce, self-categorize, analyze, store, or map “big data”? In this talk, I explore what can be illuminated in the study of queer lives and spaces by bringing together the isolated but overlapping stories of lesbians and queer women in maps, from the hand-drawn to the most technologically advanced and interactive. Drawing upon qualitative and quantitative work on lesbians’ and queer women’s spaces and economies in New York City from 1983 to 2008–including multi-generational focus groups and mental maps, archival research, and GIS–I pat special attention to how the size of data matters to lesbians in the production of their historical geographies. Most data collected about lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, and queer (LGBTQ) people throughout history has only been used to pathologize and stigmatize. Gathered at the Lesbian Herstory Archives, I draw on the Archive’s LGBTQ organizing history dataset, the largest dataset known to exist on LGBTQ activist history, as well as the resulting data visualizations. I examine the place of lesbians and queer women in the geospatial big data debates even through the production of a not “big” enough dataset. I suggest that society’s obsession with big data further oppresses the marginalized by creating a false norm to which they are never able to measure up. Drawing upon a queer feminist and critical geographic perspective, I argue that a wide range of imbricated scales of data exist which upend the big-small data binary.

Biography: Professor Gieseking (pronouns: he/him/his) works at the intersections of critical urban and digital geographies, and feminist and queer theory. His research is engaged in research on co-productions of space and identity in digital and material environments, with a focus on sexual and gender identities. He pays special attention to how such productions support or inhibit social, spatial, and economic justice, as well as how research can be made public and accessible to those who need it most. Gieseking’s first book examined the production of lesbian and queer spaces in New York City as they relate to capital around the turn


Rainbow Center (primary), Office for Diversity and Inclusion, UConn Master Calendar

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