2023 Presenters

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Toby Beauchamp, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign – “Trans Studies for Grim Times”

Dr. Toby Beauchamp is an associate professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on the problem of visibility in trans politics, arguing that the scrutinizing of gender nonconformity is motivated less by explicit transgender identities than by the perceived threat that gender nonconformity poses to the U.S. racial and security state. Dr. Beauchamp is author of the book, Going Stealth: Transgender Politics and U.S. Surveillance Practices. His writing appears in journals including GLQ, Feminist Formations, Radical History Review, and Surveillance & Society, as well as several edited book collections.

Dr. Clare Sears, San Francisco State University – “Dress and Defiance: Policing Gender from Cross-Dressing Laws to Drag Show Bans”

Dr. Clare Sears is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University. Their research focuses on queer theory, transgender studies, critical criminology, historical methods, and disability studies. Dr. Sears is author of the book, Arresting Dress: Cross-Dressing, Law and Fascination in Nineteenth-Century San Francisco, and their work can be found in Women’s Studies Quarterly, GLQ, Routledge History of Queer America and The SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies. Outside of academia, Dr. Sears has worked as an outreach worker and researcher in the field of public health and they have published numerous articles on homelessness, drug policy, and harm reduction.


Soraya Cipolla, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign – “Gender-Neutral Language, Queer Identities & Monstrosity Tropes in Italian Culture and Literature: the case of Jonathan Bazzi”
Soraya Cipolla is a PhD Candidate in Italian Studies and Queer Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on LGBTQIA+ representation in 20th and 21st Italian literature and cinema. Her dissertation “Queer Spectra: Sapphic Desire in Italian Literature and Cinema (1980 – 2023)” illuminates how gatekeepers of distribution made sapphic narratives ghost-like in Italian culture. Her interests include as well gender identity exploration through language and literature, Italian gender-inclusive language in the classroom, and inclusive pedagogy.

Laurel Darling, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign – “’The Same Misfortune Had Happened to Her Several Times Before’: Infertility and Pregnancy Loss in Eighteenth-Century Britain”
Laurel Darling is a first-year dual-degree master’s student in History and Library and Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She studies eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain and empire with an emphasis on the history of medicine and reproduction. Her scholarly work focuses on the medical discourse around infertility and pregnancy loss over the course of the eighteenth century and how ordinary people responded to these experiences. In her professional practice, Laurel is pursuing academic librarianship with an interest in medical and health sciences librarianship.

Cassandra Euphrat Weston, University of Michigan – “’A Crank on Socialism’ with an ‘Ekht-Mansbilshe Kop’: Gender Variance, Jewishness, and Dr. Samuel Ackerman”
Cassandra Euphrat Weston is a fourth year PhD candidate in History and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. Her dissertation research-in-progress investigates the relationships among sexual politics, political radicalism, and Jewishness in the United States from 1900-1930.

Julie Haltom, California State University, Long Beach – “Crossing the Prairie in Ribbons and Bows: Women and the Contradictions of Gender on the Frontier”
Julie Haltom is a history graduate student at California State University, Long Beach. Her MA thesis, currently in progress, examines small-tract homesteading in postwar Southern California within the contexts of frontier nostalgia, American conceptions of land ownership, the rural/urban divide, and the racialization of residential space. Her other research interests include the American frontier as a place, Westward expansion as a process, and representations of women and gender in the 19th and 20th century United States. Previously, she acted as the Graduate Editorial Assistant for The History Teacher, a peer-reviewed academic journal focused on history education. She also served as the Cottonwood Archival Research Intern for Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch & Gardens.

Emily Lauletta, Claremont Graduate University – “’Deceptacon’ to Cyborg: Exploring the Digital Transformation of the Riot Grrrl Movement”
Emily Lauletta is a graduate student at Claremont Graduate University, where she is pursuing her MA in applied gender studies. Her areas of research include feminist media studies, reproductive justice, and feminist theology. In 2021, Emily’s article “Reimagining The Women’s College: A Critical Analysis of Historically Women’s College Transgender Admission Policies” was published in CalPoly’s sprinkle: an undergraduate journal of feminist and queer studies. Emily also writes for BUST, a feminist pop culture magazine. In her free time, she enjoys reading feminist theory and collecting records.

Mix Mann, University of Michigan  “Addie and Rebecca: Notes on Black Women’s Love in the Face of Precarity”
Mix Mann is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Michigan — Ann Arbor. Their research intends to narrate new histories of black sexuality by studying black women’s relationships in private space and assessing the queer phenomenology of black life. Their dissertation is titled “She Feels Like Home: Black Women and Queer Domesticity, 1859-1971.” Mix is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a co-coordinator for an interdisciplinary workshop titled “The Black Research Roundtable.”

Megan McGraw, University of Connecticut – “The Threat of Deviancy: Medical Discourses on Queer Men in Post-Risorgimento Italy, 1858-1910”
Megan McGraw is a history PhD student at the University of Connecticut. They received their bachelor’s and master’s degree in history from Temple University. Their dissertation will explore transformations related to how Italian medical practitioners understood sexuality and gender, tracing the emergence of classifications and clashing attempts to create distinct categories of sex, gender, normality, and deviance.

Lance Pederson, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign – “The Exceptional Position of Monsieur: Philippe d’Orléans in his Brother’s France”
Lance Pederson is a first-year History PhD student at the University of Illinois who studies sexuality, masculinity, and power in early modern France. His current research project takes a biographical approach to the history of homosexuality by analyzing the topic through the lens of Philippe d’Orléans’ life story. The project takes an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating methods from art history. While his current research is focused on a single individual, Lance’s broader research interests are rooted in France and its colonial empire from the late seventeenth century to the early nineteenth century. His thematic research interests include queer men’s experiences in the early modern period, how sexuality can complicate the relationship between masculinity and power, and pedagogical strategies for incorporating queer histories into curricula that are not explicitly designed to focus on queer identities.

Daniella Posy, Yale University “Performing Heteronormativity: Gladys Bentley and the Social Construction of Sexuality and Gender in Early to Mid-20th Century Periodicals”
Daniella Posy is an American Studies PhD candidate at Yale University. Her research interests include popular culture and black female performance. She curated an online exhibit for Yale’s Oral History of American Music archive titled “The Struggles and Triumphs of Bessie Jones, Big Mama Thornton, and Ethel Waters,” which highlights the contributions of black women to American culture. Her presentation is titled “Performing Heteronormativity: Gladys Bentley and the Social Construction of Sexuality and Gender in Early to Mid-20th Century Periodicals.” She argues the examination of Bentley’s appearances in the media helps to elucidate histories of gender variance and divergent attitudes towards nonconformity within the African American community.

Christopher M. Rudeen, Harvard University “The Case of Mr. S.: Transvestism between Medicine and Fashion”
Christopher M. Rudeen is a doctoral student in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University with a secondary field in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. His dissertation, “Treating Clothes: Dress and the Sciences of Subjectivity,” documents the ways in which the early mind sciences used clothing to render their study of the self more objective. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Fashion Studies Journal and The Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. More broadly, he is interested in the ways in which objects are used in caring for others.

Mischa Wolfinger, University of Maryland  “’Your magazine interests me very much,’ : Transvestia Magazine and Middle-Class Trans-Community Building”
Mischa Wolfinger is a Ph.D candidate at the University of Maryland, specializing in 20th/21st century American history. His research interests lie in transgender history, and his dissertation explores the communities and resources that transgender people created for themselves in the second half of the twentieth century.

Muhammad Yousuf, University of California San Diego – “Muslim Masculinities, Inclusion, and the Work of Patriarchal Violence in ‘the West’”
Muhammad Yousuf is a fifth year in the Ethnic Studies PhD program, with a specialization in Critical Gender Studies, at the University of California—San Diego. His research focuses on the racial, colonial, and patriarchal construction of Muslim difference in the Americas, the intersection of political engagement, spiritual practice, and complicity in South Asian-American Shi’a Muslim communities, and links between mourning, memory, and decoloniality. He also has experience as a labor organizer in higher education, a member of on-campus Palestine solidarity and anti-policing movements, and in anarchist collectives.

2023 Organizing Committee

Committee Chairs:

Daniel A. Rodriguez and Grace Eberhardt


Reanne Zheng


Isaac Wink, Andy Stec, and Elias Hubbard