At an event co-hosted by the Queer Studies Program and the Women and Gender Studies department, Lynn M. Sargeant, Ph.D., spoke Wednesday in the Titan Student Union about the history of sexual politics in Russia.
This was the first of several parts of a series called “Thinking Queer” speaker series that will be taking place all semester.
Deejay Brown, 25, graduate assistant of Associated Students Inc. LGBT/Queer Resource Center, and was one of the hundred attendees of the night.
Brown said the Thinking Queer speaker series brings queer scholars to campus and presents information in a way that is accessible to students.
Brown champions the series as a boon to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community as well as their allies on campus.
“It’s a great way to learn some of the history of the LGBTQ community,” said Brown. “It’s a way to get connected with others, LGBT students and faculty and ally support. I know for me it was great in my undergraduate career to be able to be exposed to LGBT events because not only did it give me a sense of pride, but it gave me a sense of understanding and knowledge and knowing my history.”
What is defined as queer may vary by person.
“My idea of queer is that it is a positive reclamation of a historically negative word in our community, and I think that our generation has used the word to signify a socio-political identity as well,” said Amy Largarticha, 24, a graduate student of science in higher education.
Sargeant, a professor of Russian history at Cal State Fullerton, presented her speech with the help of a slideshow, YouTube videos and charts about the history of social politics in Russia.
Sargeant eventually came to the subject of historical Russian peasants and how they were viewed by their masters when it came to sexual habits, or supposed lack thereof.
“In the minds in the people having these discussions, they’re completely and totally innocent,” said Sargeant. “It never occurred to them to behave in any way that would be anything outside of the absolute normative pattern of sexuality. It reaches the point where there are theories going around that any incidents of syphilis, for example, among the peasant population was not due to sexual behavior, but contaminated eating utensils.”
As the event came to a close, Sargeant took questions and comments about her speech.
The Thinking Queer series will also have Professor Craig Loftin speak about gay men and lesbians during Cold War America on Oct. 11 in the TSU Pavilion C.
Professor Angela Asbell of Cal State San Bernandino will be talking about queer magazines and the rhetoric of self-determination Nov. 8 at 5 p.m. in the Titan Theater.
More information can be found at ASI.Fullerton.edu/services/lgbtq.asp.