Southampton Stonewall Lecture 2019, Thursday 21 February: Professor Bruce Smith
January 2, 2019
by Lewis Brennen
The 2019 Southampton Stonewall Lecture will take place on Thursday 21 February, 6.00pm, at Avenue Campus, University of Southampton. As always the event is free to attend but you must register beforehand. More information on how to register will be circulated in due course.
This year’s lecture will be given by Professor Bruce Smith (University of Southern California), who will be speaking about:
To Queer or Not to Queer Shakespeare
‘Queer Shakespeare’? At the time of the Stonewall Riots in 1969 most people would have answered such a question with an astonished ‘What?’. ‘Queer’ was a slur, and Britain’s national bard could not possibly have been one. Fifty years on, the term ‘queer’ has taken on personal, political, and analytical power. From an adjective with a broad meaning, and a noun with a quite specific meaning, ‘queer’ is now a verb. ‘To queer’ something is to question its status, to probe, to reevaluate. In this lively lecture Professor Bruce R. Smith will explore the stages and vagaries of this transition in the meanings of ‘queer’. Special attention is given to the ambiguous status of ‘Shakespeare’. That word can refer to four things: (1) the historical person who was born and died in Stratford-upon-Avon, (2) the body of work he produced as a playwright and poet, (3) the author that we imagine as we read those plays and poems, and (4) the cultural icon that ‘Shakespeare’ has become. Each of these entities can be the object of the verb ‘to queer’.
The annual ‘Southampton Stonewall Lecture’ explores the rich heritage that is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) history, in order to educate the present about the past and to promote social justice and inclusivity.
Each lecture offers an academic approach to a historical subject, revealing to a broad public audience some of the best recent research on the gay and lesbian past. The lecture builds on fruitful cooperation between the Stonewall charity and the University of Southampton in terms of our shared values and educational engagement with the wider community. Through a greater understanding of discrimination and tolerance through the centuries, we can help to promote tolerance and inclusivity in contemporary British society.
The lecture will be followed by a charity collection for Stonewall.