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  GALA at Chicago Pride March (1991), courtesy of the Chicago Maroon Photographic Archive at Special Collections Research Center  

Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles: A History of LGBTQ Life at the University of Chicago

A project of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality

In Summer 2012, the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality launched Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles, which will document LGBTQ individuals and communities at the University of Chicago from the early twentieth century through the present. By collecting oral history interviews with LGBTQ alumni, faculty, and staff, and mining local and national archives, students and faculty involved with this initiative will build on the Center's highly successful project "’On Equal Terms’: Educating Women at the University of Chicago," which ran from 2004-09. Taken individually, the oral histories will reflect the careers and interests of the interviewees; taken collectively they will form an invaluable part of the historical record of the University in the 20th and 21st centuries.

This past spring, project coordinator Monica Mercado (Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History) taught "Queer on the Quads," a seminar for undergraduate students to develop skills in oral history methods. Over the next year, student interns will expand on their coursework by conducting oral history interviews with LGBTQ alumni, faculty and staff, under the guidance of faculty and graduate student fellows. The project is also engaged with the Special Collections Research Center in Regenstein Library to build an archive of personal papers, records, ephemera, digital files, etc. concerning LGBTQ life at the University.

Interviews will begin in fall 2012 and run through spring 2014. In addition, project researchers are interested in loans or donations of materials that chronicle LGBTQ campus life. Did you save posters, photos, tee-shirts, or other markers of your time in Chicago? As plans are laid for a possible exhibition, the project will be relying on alumni to help fill in the gaps that University publications and oral histories can't fill.

 

We need your help! Get involved:

For more information, contact project coordinators Monica Mercado and Lauren Stokes at lgbtqhistoryproject@lists.uchicago.edu