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The Graduate Program in Gender Studies and Feminist Research, Department of English and Cultural Studies and The School of the Arts are pleased to welcome

Qwo-Li Driskill, Associate Professor, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Oregon

September 25-27, 2018

All Welcome! Please forward this information widely.

Poster can be viewed here.

Qwo-Li Driskill is a (non-citizen) Cherokee Two-Spirit and Queer writer, activist, and performer also of African, Irish, Lenape, Lumbee, and Osage ascent. S/he is the author of Walking with Ghosts: Poems (Salt Publishing, 2005) and the co-editor of Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature (University of Arizona, 2011) and Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature (University of Arizona, 2011).  Hir book Asegi Stories: Cherokee Queer and Two-Spirit Memory (University of Arizona 2016) was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in 2017. S/he is the Director of Graduate Studies and the Queer Studies Curriculum Organizer in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University.


Lecture:  Wednesday, September 26, 11:30 am, BSB 108

The Curious Case of Blanket: Cherokee Gender, Sexuality and Missionizing Rhetoric in Cephas Washburn’s Reminiscences of the Indians

Cephas Washburn, a Presbyterian missionary through the American Board of Foreign Missions in the Cherokee Nation West, published his recollections of his experiences as Reminiscences of the Indians in 1869. The text includes Washburn’s curious tellings of conversations with a Cherokee man named Blanket, who describes two people that we might now call “Two-Spirit”—Indigenous people outside of dominant colonial gender binaries—as well as versions of Cherokee stories and belief systems that are clearly rooted in colonial patriarchal Christianity rather than through a matrifocal Cherokee worldview. Washburn’s account of his curious conversations with Blanket peaks my own curiosity: Did Blanket actually tell Washburn these stories, or were they fabricated by Washburn? Did Blanket believe the versions of Cherokee stories he told Washburn were “traditional,” or might Blanket have specific motivations to mislead Washburn? If Washburn and Blanket are unreliable narrators, can this text be used to uncover cultural memories of Cherokee people outside of European gender binaries? Drawing on my previous work to utilize the Cherokee concept of asegi (strange, queer) as a way to re-read history, this paper will argue that Washburn be read through the layers of religious and political motivations of both Washburn and Blanket. It will extend my previous theorizing of an asegi imaginary—or, a Cherokee Queer/Two-Spirit focused critique that intentionally troubles the concept of historical fact—to imagine what asegi stories we can hear through this text that might aid in restoring Cherokee Two-Spirit people’s historiographic memory.


Lecture:  Thursday, September 27, 3:30 pm, MDCL 3022

 Indiginizing Disability Justice, Cripping Anti-Colonial Struggles

The term “Disability Justice” is being increasingly removed from its origins as an intervention into white-dominated disability rights frameworks, erasing the contributions of queer and trans people of color towards a radical shift of frameworks with disability movements and other movements for social justice. At the same time, crip of color critiques are emerging in academic spaces that centralize race, but simultaneously erase the realities of settler colonialism and struggles for decolonization from their frameworks. However, an increasing body of scholarship and activism in disability justice and disability studies is emerging that critiques settler colonialism. This talk argues for a centralization of Indigenous peoples, histories, and struggles within disability justice movements and disability studies scholarship and asserts disability justice as deeply necessary to decolonial struggles and Indigenizing movements and scholarship on Indigenous lands.


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