USC Upstate Shutters Gender Studies Center

In a move indicative of the larger assault on the humanities at institutions of higher learning, USC Upstate has opted to shut down its Gender Studies Center as of July 1, 2014. The closing of the Gender Studies Center is being described as a necessary austerity measure, part of a $450,000 reduction in university spending, but many believe the attack on USC Upstate’s Gender Studies Center to be a calculated political move, with one faculty member reporting, “In my personal opinion it’s an act of retribution.” 

In addition to the general homophobic rhetoric that the center has received over the past several years from South Carolina state lawmakers, several state senators and assemblymen have cited specific programs and events the center has supported as antithetical to their ideas of acceptable education. State Senator Kevin Bryant, for example, told The State, “If they’ve got extra money sitting around to promote perversion, obviously they’ve got more money than they really need.”

What the remarks of Sen. Bryant and others like Rep. Mike Fair and Sen. Larry Grooms indicate is a willingness of South Carolina lawmakers to make decisions for public universities on what is and what is not acceptable to learn. While couched in a language of fiscal responsibility, the actions of Bryant, Fair, and Grooms, as well as their like-minded counterparts in state government, are targeting particular kinds of learning. Those already marginalized students of the LGBTQ community at USC Upstate have now lost an important forum for cultural expression. What’s more, the South Carolina Senate, in their retooling of the budget, reallocated $17,000 that was previously cut from USC Upstate’s funding, provided that money be used to promote “the study of and devotion to American institutions and ideals.” 

It is clear, then, that all across the country, with USC Upstate only one example of many, public universities are under assault. Not only are they being constrained financially (with an ever shrinking contribution of state funds and an over-reliance on individual beneficiaries) but particular programs, departments, and centers that do not fall in line with dominant and normative ideals of neoliberalism, heterosexuality, and christianity run the risk of being shut down by political zealots. The happenings at USC Upstate represent not a aberration, but the new normal for public institutions. 

To read more about USC Upstate’s Gender Studies Center closure you can visit the following links: 


WGS Summer Course!

Digital and Queer: LGBT After the Internet(Special Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies)

21:988:389:B5–Summer Session I


If you or your students are considering a course in Women’s and Gender Studies during the summer session this year, I would like to let you know about the class I am teaching: “Queer and Digital: LGBT After the Internet” (Special Topics 389, section B5). The class will run during the first summer session (May 27-July 3) and is entirely online (on Blackboard). The course will combine media studies and LGBT studies in an online setting specifically designed to optimize their mutual study. Please have a look at the course description below and feel free to distribute widely to potentially interested students. If you have more questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at




Julian Gill-Peterson



Course Description


This course asks a broad question of our present world: why has the increasing visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people taken place at the same time as the rise of the Internet, social networking, and new media? What have been the effects of the digital era on gender, sexuality, and race in the United States? This class will combine media studies and LGBT studies to look at the origins and future of the queer digital generation. We will begin by examining the 1990s Internet and the first appearance of LGBT people online in chat rooms, listservs, and in early media accounts of the web. Then we will examine Web 2.0, with a special focus on social media and sexuality, including MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, and Kik. We will examine how LGBT people use social media and how social media in turn changes the very idea of sexuality, looking at examples like cyberbullying and sexting. We will also examine at each stage of the course the relationships of sexuality to gender and race.


This is a fully online course: it will have recorded lectures by the instructor, PowerPoint slides, and weekly readings. The assignments will be submitted on Blackboard and include very short weekly reading responses, a creative social media assignment, and a final exam. There are no books to buy; all readings will be PDFs or web links.

“Animal Ethics: Abolition, Regulation or Citizenship”

On April 11th, 2014, the Rutgers-Newark Law School will be hosting a conference entitled: “Animal Ethics: Abolition, Regulation or Citizenship” from 10am-6pm. Speakers include: 

  • Anna E. Charlton, Adjunct Professor of Law, Rutgers School of Law–Newark, and former Director, Rutgers Animal Rights Law Clinic
  • Luis E. Chiesa, Professor of Law and Director, Buffalo Criminal Law Center, SUNY Buffalo
  • Sherry F. Colb, Professor of Law and Charles Evans Hughes Scholar, Cornell University
  • Sue Donaldson, independent researcher and author (co-author with Will Kymlicka of Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights)
  • Michael C. Dorf, Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law, Cornell University
  • Gary L. Francione, Board of Governors Professor, Distinguished Professor of Law, and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy, Rutgers School of Law–Newark
  • Will Kymlicka, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy, Queen’s University (Canada)
  • David Nibert, Professor of Sociology, Wittenberg University
  • Gary Steiner, John Howard Harris Professor of Philosophy, Bucknell University

More information and registration can be found at:

“All the Pieces Matter:” An Urban Summit Inspired by TV’s “The Wire”


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

4:00pm – 7:00pm

Paul Robeson Campus Center

Admission: Free

This event will be a conversation about issues facing urban youth, a discussion among RU-N faculty, RU-N students, representatives of three Newark youth organizations, and several of the young people served by these groups.  The three organizations are YouthBuild, the Youth Policy Board of Newark, and Rutgers T.E.E.M. Gateway.


Sherri-Ann Butterfield, RU-N

Roland Anglin, RU-N

Bonnie Veysey, RU-N

Lori Scott-Pickens, RU-N

For more info: Fran Bartkowski,

Nelson Mandela Dead at 95



It is with the deepest regret that we have learned of the passing of our founder, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Madiba. The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa will shortly make further official announcements.

We want to express our sadness at this time. No words can adequately describe this enormous loss to our nation and to the world.

We give thanks for his life, his leadership, his devotion to humanity and humanitarian causes. We salute our friend, colleague and comrade and thank him for his sacrifices for our freedom. The three charitable organisations that he created dedicate ourselves to continue promoting his extraordinary legacy.

Hamba Kahle Madiba

Professor José Esteban Muñoz Dies

(via the University of Minnesota Press)


Muñoz authored and edited several books and numerous scholarly articles. His first book, Disdentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics, was innovative and groundbreaking, and has proven to be foundational to the critical study on the nexus of race, gender, and sexuality. It continues to serve as a model for much of the scholarly work in this area that has followed since its initial publication in 1999.

The loss of his expertise and perspective to the fields of queer studies, performance studies, and critical race studies is profound. His contributions will continue to influence these areas of inquiry for many years to come.

Newark’s 1st Latino Mayor



Newark Municipal Council President Luis Quintana was sworn in this morning as mayor, filling the unexpired term of Cory Booker, who resigned last week to take his seat as a newly elected U.S. senator.

Quintana, 53, who was selected unanimously by the council in an emergency meeting, becomes Newark’s first Latino mayor. He serves until July 1, 2014, when Booker’s term expires. The city will be holding general elections in May, when a new mayor will be elected. Quintana said he has no plans to seek the job.

The vote today came five days after Booker resigned, after an earlier emergency meeting of the council lacked a quorum because several council members did not show up, including several who went to Washington, D.C., for Booker’s swearing in ceremony. There was no public notice of today’s meeting, but under the Sunshine Law, notice of an emergency meeting can be made after the fact.

Quintana steps into a job in which he will have to come up with a new fiscal plan for the city, and faces continuing pressures over rising crime rates.

“For many years, I have served our residents, and I hear the hue and cry in the streets of our city to reduce crime and unify our people, and I will work to do that,” Quintana said.

With his selection as mayor, Quintana had to step down from his post as council president—a post that for now will remain vacant after council members could not muster enough votes to designate a successor.

Quintana, born in Añasco, Puerto Rico, has been on the council since 1994. He moved to Newark with his family at the age of 8, graduating from Barringer High School in the city’s North Ward. He is a graduate of Seton Hall University.