Sager Preview: The Boundaries of Queer

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Want to know more about orgasms or watch a unique performance featuring two Sri Lankan Tamil queer women? That’s right, it’s time for the 20th Sager Symposium, an annual series of events that focus on a current topic for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. This year’s theme, the Boundaries of Queer, explores the meaning of a queer identity, the connotations of the word “queer,” and issues such as race, class, and religion, and self-identification.

Friday, March 28
4:30 p.m. – Workshop: The Gender-Free Orgasm

Learn more about the orgasm at this workshop is run by Kate Bornstein, an author, playwright, and performance artist. Participants should bring a pillow and a
blanket to this event which takes place in the Hicks Mural Room.

7:00 p.m. – Giant Steps? “Queer” and its Discontents

If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s appropriate to use the word “queer”, this lecture is for you. Heather K. Love, an Assistant Professor in the Humanities at UPenn, will discuss the different uses of the word “queer” from a historical perspective and three major critiques that have been presented against the effectiveness of the word. The lecture take place in the Admission Commons in Parish Hall.

9:00 p.m. – Kate Bornstein Performance

Come watch a performance by Kate Bornstein titled, “On Men, Women and the Rest of Us” in Bond Memorial Hall.

Saturday, March 29
11:00 a.m. – Breakfast

Have breakfast at Kohlberg Coffee Bar in Kohlberg Hall.

12:00 p.m. – Dancing with Death: Black Queer Identities and Popular Music in the Age of HIV/AIDS

Kenyon Farrow, a writer and activist, talks about race and gender, HIV/AIDS, pop culture, and progressive politics in the Schuer Room. Some of his most widely read works include “Open Letter to Condoleezza Rice,” “Is Gay Marriage Anti-Black?,” “Not Showing Up: Blacks, Military Recruitment and the Anti-War Movement” and “We Real Cool?: On Hip-Hop, Asian-Americans, Black Folks, and Appropriation.”

1:30 p.m. – Queer Diasporas

Gayathri Gopinath, author of Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures, will discuss queer theory and diasporic theory in the Schuer room.

3:00 p.m. – “Trans Nation: Queer States of Pleasure and the Boundaries of Democracy”

A talk given by Lazaro Lima, Associate professor of Spanish and Latina/o Studies in the Department of Spanish at Bryn Mawr College and Nicole Lopez, a self-identified feminist, activist, spoken word poet, and MC.

4:30 p.m. – Excerpts from “Strange Rain”, A Performance by Marian Yalini Thambynayagam & Varuni Tiruchelvam

Marian Yalini Thambynayagam and Varuni Tiruchelvam, both queer Sri Lankan Tamil Americans will perform, incorporating the cello, a unique blend of theater, spoken word, song, and dance to explore issues in the Sri Lankan Diaspora, using gender and sexuality as a lens.

5:30 p.m. – Sager Symposium Banquet

This dinner takes place in Upper Tarble with a panel of queer alumni speaking about what it was like being queer at Swarthmore when they attended. This panel includes an alum from the 70’s, 90’s and from ’03.

The dinner is free and open to both symposium participants and the Swarthmore community at large. If you want to attend, R.S.V.P. to

10 p.m. – 2 a.m., Genderfuck Party: “Sex Through the Ages”

Finally the Sager party, a Swarthmore tradition. Finish off your weekend by letting loose at the “Genderfuck” party. The party is in multiple locations: Olde Club, the Women’s Resource Center, and the Delta Upsilon Lodge.

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