AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: AN EPISTEMOLOGY OF THE ACADEMIC CLOSET, OR, STILL TOO QUEER FOR COLLEGE
Author: DEBORAH AMORY (Empire State College)   
Date/Time: Fri., 3:30 PM
Co-Author(s): DEBORAH AMORY (Empire State College) 
Abstract: The proposed paper will explore an epistemology of the academic closet, arguing that even in the 21st century, this thinly veiled beast continues to work in the same old (and some new) insidious ways that once made Esther Newton “too queer for college”. The paper will draw both on Newton’s insights into queerness and college, and inspiration from her profound contributions to anthropology: a willingness to go where other ethnographers fear to tread; a tenderly brutal ethnographic realness; and the ability to write some of the most beautiful and meaningful queer thick description that any century has seen. The academic closet disrobed in this paper consists both of the intimate dances among faculty, chairs, and deans around tenure, but also extends the epistemological query to the “heights” of academic “power”. That is, we will explore the world of the management confidential class of queers in the academy who forsake tenure in the name of power, or progress, or even academic quality. Drawing on another butch anthropologist’s dance with the closet door, the paper will present evidence that in the early 21st century, within the historical and political context both of great political change and great backlash, “out” queer academics still present a visibly tantalizing target for the lunatic fringe. Is there a happy ending to the story? Indeed, there is: in the end, coalitions of queers, people of color, and even straight white men can and did stand up to refuse the hatred of the homophobic attack.

Program Number: 3-0815
Session Title: THE MOTHER (CAMP) OF US ALL: LGBT ANTHROPOLOGY HONORS ESTHER NEWTON
Session Sponsor: Association for Queer Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Fri., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): ELLEN LEWIN (University of Iowa) 
Chair(s): ELLEN LEWIN (University of Iowa)  
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