Southampton Stonewall Lecture 2014 (Podcast Available)
February 20, 2014
by Carla Barrett
As part of LGBT History Month, last week the University of Southampton hosted the 3rd annual Southampton Stonewall Lecture. Each year this lecture is devoted to LGBT or queer history. This year, Professor Laura Doan gave a fascinating talk entitled ‘On the Entanglements of Queer Memory and History – the Case of Alan Turing’. Her talk centred around collective memory (or the cultural phenomenon of what groups remember); and she used the case of Alan Turing as a means of considering the tensions between collective memory and academic history.
I write this post as a geographer, not a historian. My own academic work considers how contemporary uses of space, and ways of living in the home, might be queer. In other words, I am interested in contemporary queer spatialities. What I found most interesting about Doan’s talk was the attention she drew to queer temporalities. This is a relatively new field in queer studies, interested in putting queer people back into history. One of the key questions that Doan posed in her talk was how do you (or can you) historicise contemporary identities? She noted that today we understand sexuality in terms of possessing an identity, whereas this was not necessarily the case at the time that Alan Turing was living. As such, Doan pointed out that although describing Alan Turing as ‘gay’ might help us to understand the past, it may also fail to really capture how he would have experienced the world.
To download a podcast of Professor Doan’s lecture, please click here.