Sexuality scholar presents annual memorial lecture

GENESEO, N.Y. - On Monday, Nov. 13, Laura Doan, professor of cultural history and sexuality studies and co-director of the Centre for the Study of Sexuality and Culture at the University of Manchester, was the featured speaker at the second annual Rose Alent Memorial Lecture and Bash.

Doan, formerly a professor of English at Geneseo, is the author of the award-winning book Fashioning Sapphism: The Origins of a Modern English Lesbian Culture. In 2003, she received the John Boswell Prize for an Outstanding Book on Lesbian/Gay History by the Committee on Lesbian and Gay History of the American Historical Association. Doan is also the editor of several collections of essays on sexual identity, sexology, modernism and postmodernism.

After a welcome and an introduction from President Christopher Dahl, who spoke briefly about Alent and her influence at Geneseo as well as Doan's background with Geneseo, Doan delivered her lecture.

Doan's lecture, entitled "Topsy-Turvydom: Women, Sexuality, and the Great War," took place at the Alice Austin Theatre in Brodie Hall. Following the lecture, a reception was held at the McClellan House at 26 Main St.

Doan's lecture is also the title of her current book project, which is, "an attempt to rethink the ways in which we historicize sexuality," she said. She focused on World War I and explained how it was a "transformative event for both women and men."

In the lecture, Doan focused on the work and lives of women who served on the Western front in order to clarify the relationships between gender deviance and female sexual deviance. She also concentrated on the relationships between women and their relationship to technology, mobility and labor. She used photographs and cartoons that illustrated women's roles during the war and how this affected the perception of women during that time.

Doan stated that during this time of crisis, "Every man was a soldier, and every woman was a man." She explained how World War I allowed both men and women to become something other than their pre-war selves.

The Rose Alent Memorial Lecture was held in the memory of Rose Bachem Alent, a distinguished teaching professor of comparative literature who died in 1997. Alent was the first person to teach foreign languages at Geneseo and was instrumental in establishing a foreign languages department at the College. She was also known for her dedication to the College and her students, and for keeping her home always open to students and colleagues for informal discussion and meals.

The Rose Alent Memorial Lecture is made possible through contributions to the Geneseo Foundation by many alumni and friends whose lives were touched by Alent.

The event was sponsored by the President's office, Alent's friends and colleagues, and the Geneseo Foundation.