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Humanities@Home: Uncovering LGBTQ+ Histories in New Hampshire

Humanities@Home: Uncovering LGBTQ+ Histories in New Hampshire

In 1974, a lawyer for the University of New Hampshire argued that the university could legally bar the newly founded Gay Students Organization from activity on campus because its members had a “communicable mental illness.” This public battle, in both the courts and the court of public opinion, might have been the first time LGBTQ+ identity was a major topic of conversation in New Hampshire, but LGTBQ+ individuals had called NH home for much longer. 

In this talk, Dr. Holly Cashman will underscore the importance of knowing the histories of LGBTQ+ communities and share stories collected through two ongoing research projects: the Seacoast NH LGBTQ Oral History Project and the Living Free & LGBTQ+ at UNH in the 1970s project. The NH Seacoast LGBTQ Oral History Project grew out of a larger history project founded by Tom Kaufhold in the years approaching the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, considered by many the birth of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. Living Free & LGBTQ+ at UNH in the 1970s traces the founding of the Gay Student Organization, the first such organization on campus. This project involved UNH students’ hands-on research in the university archives to look at a story now viewed as a victory. These programs continue to make LGBTQ+ histories more visible in New Hampshire, uncovering for the public stories that have been overlooked for decades, and enriching our understanding of what it means to make the Granite State home.

About the presenter: Holly R. Cashman is Professor of Spanish and Women's & Gender Studies at the University of New Hampshire and author of Queer, Latinx, and Bilingual: Narrative Resources in the Negotiation of Identities. She is past president of the International Gender and Language Association and the Linguistic Association of the Southwest. Cashman was awarded the Kidder Award for “foster[ing] greater understanding of sexual orientation and gender expression,” the President’s Good Steward Award for using professional expertise in service to the wider community, and the Pink Triangle Award for “outstanding contributions to efforts for equity and visibility for the UNH GLBT community.”

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What Your "Moder" Gave You: Fears and Fantasies of Maternal Heredity in Medieval England

In a heavily patrilineal society like medieval England, reproduction was meant to reinforce likeness between father and son. While medieval men might have wished to pretend otherwise, women too had a great impact on their children. Join us as Dr. Samantha Seal of UNH explores the medieval fears of the female womb and female influence on children. She’ll illustrate examples from medieval romance and the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer, in which mothers subvert fathers’ biological connection with “their” sons, bestowing their own matrilineal traits— magic and monstrosity, holiness and hereditary power— and challenging which sex was the more powerful.

About the presenter: Dr. Samantha Seal is an Associate Professor of English and the Pamela Shulman Professor of European and Holocaust Studies at the University of New Hampshire. She specializes in the study of gender and race in medieval English literature, especially in the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer. She currently serves as a member of the editorial board of Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, held an ACLS faculty fellowship in 2019-2020, and will be a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University in Spring 2023. 

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Friday, May 3, 2024
Concord, NH
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