Professor Heather Love to Give Lecture on Queer Theory

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., February 9, 2018—Heather Love, Williams College Margaret Bundy Scott Professor in English, will present a lecture on Monday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. in Griffin Hall, room 3. The event is free and open to the public.

In her lecture, titled “Beginning with Stigma,” Love will discuss developments in queer theory since the 1980s. She considers the debts of the first wave of queer theory to this tradition, focusing on Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s citation of the midcentury sociologist Erving Goffman’s 1963 book Stigma: On the Management of Spoiled Identity in her 1993 essay “Queer Performativity.” She will argue that the shift in Sedgwick’s career from epistemology to affect studies, and from paranoid to reparative modes of thought, was enabled by a return to this earlier period (what she called with Adam Frank the “cybernetic fold”). Furthermore, Love will argue that forms of descriptive and empirical criticism emerging recently in literary criticism are shaped by this unacknowledged legacy.

Love received her A.B. from Harvard and her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Her research interests include gender and sexuality studies, twentieth-century literature and culture, affect studies, sociology and literature, disability studies, film and visual culture, and critical theory. She is the author of Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History (Harvard) and the editor of a special issue of GLQ on Gayle Rubin (“Rethinking Sex”) and the co-editor of a special issue of Representations (“Description Across Disciplines”). She has written on topics including comparative social stigma, compulsory happiness, transgender fiction, spinster aesthetics, reading methods in literary studies, and the history of deviance studies.

This event is sponsored by the Department of English.


For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications (413) 597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at


Published February 9, 2018