Contributed by Virginia Elwood-Akers
This unique series of events in the Oviatt Library will kick off on Monday, April 28, with a program organized by CSUN’s Gender and Women’s Studies Department (GWS). GWS originally grew out of the combined efforts of students, staff, and faculty in the 1970’s. Eventually a Women’s Studies interdisciplinary minor was approved in 1977, and this evolved into the Women’s Studies Department in 1993. Presently called Gender and Women’s Studies, this department now offers interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and transnational studies focusing on women and gender issues. Both a major and a minor are offered. The capstone course is a senior seminar in which students are required to write a research paper. According to the instructor for the course, Dr. Breny Mendoza, the GWS Sex in the Library day’s event will include the presentation of these research papers, along with several discussions and speakers. Keynote addresses will be given by Andrea Smith, Associate Professor of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside; and by Teresa Langle de Paz, founder and co-director of Women’s Knowledge International (WKI), at the Foundation for a Culture of Peace.
On Tuesday, April 29, a program will be presented by CSUN’s Pride Center, located in the University Student Union. The Pride Center grew out of a long history of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer activity at CSUN, beginning in 1972 when the Gay Student Union (GSU) was started by Arthur E. Vandegaart. Supportive staff and faculty partnered with the GSU to change the climate of homophobia on campus. The organization prospered, and its name went through a number of iterations over the years before settling on the LGBTQ Alliance. The recently opened Pride Center offers discussion groups, peer mentoring and social events for LGBTQ students. It also houses a media library of books, magazines and DVDs. In addition, the Ally Project invites everyone to learn more about the LGBTQ communities. The Pride Center also sponsors Tuesday Talks, which is a recurring discussion group that addresses subjects relating to gender identity and LGBTQ issues. According to Pride Center Coordinator Sarina Loeb, the topic that will be focused on during Sex in the Library Week will be transgender history and the movement today. The presentation will include a keynote speaker yet to be announced with a discussion following.
Wednesday’s program on April 30 will be presented by the Oviatt Library. This event will feature a presentation by Special Collections and Archives Librarian Ellen Jarosz, who will discuss the vast array of materials available in the Oviatt Library’s Vern and Bonnie Bullough Collection on Sex and Gender. The Collection contains more than 8,000 items, including books and periodicals, as well as archival collections. The Bullough Collection was established 1973 when CSUN acquired the personal research library of scholars and Kinsey Award recipients Vern and Bonnie Bullough. Jarosz will be joined by Dr. Joseph Hawkins of the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives. ONE is the largest repository of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer materials in the world, and comprises more than three million items. The ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives was established in 1994, when papers of ONE, a homosexual rights and support publication dating from 1953, merged with the Gay & Lesbian Archives collected by Jim Kepner. The combined collections moved in 2000 to its current location at the University of Southern California.
Sex in the Library Week will conclude with a presentation by CSUN’s Queer Studies Minor program on Thursday, May 1. The capstone course for this 18-unit minor is Queer Studies 490, in which students are required to submit a final research paper. According to Dr. Gregory Knotts, coordinator of the Queer Studies program, “Students have been challenged to use the archival materials held in the Vern and Bonnie Bullough Collection on Sex and Gender.” Knotts says that during their presentations, students will report on how the collection informed their research. In addition, there will be discussion regarding the ways in which the archival material itself can lead to a revised understanding of the history and practice of queer theory. The Queer Studies Program was established in 2008 as a minor and has grown exponentially over the past five years. The Queer Studies minor helps students working with a diverse population in various aspects of the corporate and business community: psychology, social work, the film industry, journalism and deaf studies, among others. The capstone presentations by this year’s students promise to enlighten, entertain, tantalize, and challenge the audience.
In addition to the series of presentations, two students, one from Queer Studies and one from Gender and Women’s Studies, will be selected to receive special scholarships. The selection of these awards will be based on the student’s integration of the archival research that was used to support their capstone projects. Funding for these scholarships is provided by the Vern and Bonnie Bullough Endowment which was also the catalyst for the creation of this series of events. The primary objective of the Bullough endowment is to support programs and exhibitions featuring speakers on the topics of human sexuality and gender issues.
Sex in the Library Week is co-sponsored and produced in partnership by representatives from the Oviatt Library, Gender and Women’s Studies, Queer Studies, and the Pride Center. All events for the week are free and will take place in the Jack and Florence Ferman Presentation room on the Library’s garden level. For a complete listing of dates and times for all Sex in the Library programs, please visit the Oviatt’s Exhibitions and Events page on the Library’s website, or call (818) 677-2638 during regular business hours. Parking on campus is $6.00, and daily parking permits may be purchased at information booths or online at The Permit Store.