Kenyon was proud to host the inaugural conference for queer and transgender studies on Saturday, April 6, 2019. The conference was free-of-charge and open to undergraduate and graduate students both at and outside of Kenyon. Community members were also welcome to attend. This biennial conference will occur again in April 2021.
The Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference is a new biennial conference. Sponsored by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the conference developed from a need to provide a place for queer and trans scholarship, activism and community building. The conference is built upon a model of interdisciplinarity, intersectionality and equity.
The Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference includes four tracks:
Each of these carefully selected tracks encompasses the desire to facilitate spaces for discussions about queer and trans issues in distinct areas of scholarship and everyday life. Each of these carefully selected tracks encompasses the desire to facilitate spaces for discussions about queer and trans issues in distinct areas of scholarship and everyday life
Recognizing the unique set of identities throughout the broader LGBTQ+ community, the Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference also offers drop-in networking/socializing spaces for queer and trans people of color. These dedicated spaces are offered throughout conference sessions with the intent of creating intersectional spaces exclusive to attendees, who may want intra-community discussions throughout the day.
The Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference models itself on practices of equity building. The conference is free to eliminate some economic barriers that may prohibit students from attending, and it will include free breakfast and lunch, with the understanding that food insecurity is often an issue in marginalized communities. The conference will also utilize accessible spaces across campus when possible.
The conference is both intended to be intersectional and interdisciplinary in scope. For this reason, the conference organizing committee welcomes proposals for a variety of LGBTQ+ topics and presentation formats. Examples of presentation formats include: panel discussions with multiple people (either submitting proposals together or separately), workshops led by one or multiple presenters, performances, and interactive facilitated discussions on a specific topic. Each session for the conference will be 45 minutes long, and there will be four sessions held throughout the day.
Proposal submissions for the 2021 conference will be available in fall 2020.
As this conference is modeled on accessibility and equity, there is no registration fee, and free breakfast and lunch will be provided to all attendees. While this conference is aimed at engaging undergraduate and graduate students in Ohio, both students from out of state and community members are welcome to register.
Registration for the 2021 conference will open in fall 2020.
As a part of our on-going commitment to ensure that the conference provides support for LGBTQ+ attendees, a number of practical resources are made available in coordination with our conference co-sponsors.
For instance, our inaugural conference included a free HIV testing clinic provided by the Knox County Health Department. Unity House and the Crozier Center for Women also provided free safer sex kits, and information about safer sex, PrEP and PEP was available courtesy of Gilead Sciences. Equitas Health and Trans Ohio also hosted a free gender and name change clinic, along with opportunities for free financial assistance to those who need it.
We also received a number of gift card donations for practical items that were raffled during the conference. The purpose of this was to further ensure that useful items and resources, such as binders, cosmetic products and more were available to attendees via the free raffle.
In addition to eliminating economic barriers that might prohibit attendees from engaging with the Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference, we have also worked to ensure this space meets the needs of attendees with disabilities.
All rooms and meeting spaces that are used for this conference meet accessibility requirements noted by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and we have avoided spaces that may be inaccessible to people with mobility-related needs.
Additionally, all workshop sessions are equipped with microphones. American Sign Language interpreters are also available upon advance request, and the keynote lecture for the conference will be transcribed in real-time to assist attendees who may have hearing impairments. Accessible and downloadable audio copies of the conference program, due to copyright agreements, are also available by request.
If you are in need of any other accessibility related accommodations, please feel free to contact the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and/or the Office of Student Accessibility and Support Services at Kenyon College.
Sa’ed Atshan of Swarthmore College delivered the keynote address for our inaugural conference, and his address focused on the importance and impact of queer and trans studies in today’s sociopolitical climate.
Atshan is an assistant professor of peace and conflict studies at Swarthmore College. He previously served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. He earned a joint Ph.D. in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies, a master's degree in social anthropology from Harvard University, and a Master in Public Policy (MPP) degree from the Harvard Kennedy School. He received a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore in 2006. His research interests are at the intersection of peace and conflict studies, the anthropology of policy, critical development studies and gender and sexuality studies. He has two forthcoming books with Stanford University Press: "Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique" and "Paradoxes of Humanitarianism: The Social Life of Aid in the Palestinian Territories."
Additionally, Atshan has been awarded multiple graduate fellowships, including from the Open Society Foundations, National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Woodrow Wilson National Foundation, Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. He is also the recipient of a Soros Fellowship and a Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace. He has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union, the U.N. High Commission on Refugees, Human Rights Watch, Seeds of Peace, the Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department, and the Government of Dubai. He is Quaker, grew up in Palestine, and he is also an LGBTQ rights activist. Atshan serves on the board of the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality, a Beirut-based organization that supports LGBTQ populations across the Middle East/North Africa region.
For our inaugural conference, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Kenyon had a number of on-campus and community co-sponsors, who either 1) assisted with various aspects of this conference or 2) provided useful resources to it.
Our campus co-sponsors included the following departments, groups, and organizations from Kenyon College: the Asian and Middle East Studies Program; the Cox Health and Counseling Center; the Crozier Center for Women; the Diversity Advisors; Gender Group; the LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee; the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; the Office of Student Accessibility Services; the Office of Student Engagement; Queer Masculinities Society; Unity House; and the Women's and Gender Studies Program.
Our community co-sponsors, who provided services, support, and/or other contributions to this conference and its attendees included the following: Equality Ohio, Equitas Health, Fluide Cosmetics, gc2b Transitional Apparel, Gilead Sciences, Global Protection Corporation, GLSEN of Columbus, Human Rights Campaign of Columbus, Knox County Health Department, Newark Ohio Pride Coalition, ONE Condoms, Tomboy X, and Trans Ohio.
Funding for this conference was provided in-part by the Kenyon College Community Development Fund and the Student LGBTQ+ Diversity Fund.