Lecture in Lesbian Studies addresses the decline in lesbian communities

Ore. -- (May 19, 2009) -- The Women's and Gender Studies (WGS) department
at the University of Oregon will host the first Sally Miller Gearhart Lecture
in Lesbian Studies from noon to 2 p.m. on May 27, in Gerlinger Lounge, 1468 University St.

free lecture, "The Incredibly Shrinking Lesbian World and Other Queer
Conundra," will feature prominent scholar and author, Arlene Stein, who teaches
courses on the sociology of gender, sexuality, culture, religion and identities
at Rutgers University. Stein is the author of three books and the editor of two
collections of essays including "Sex
and Sensibility: Stories of a Lesbian Generation." She was formerly
an associate professor of sociology at the UO.

lecture aims to address the issue of a decline in lesbian communities, as articulated
by a number of observers who have warned of the "emptying out" of the lesbian
category. Some blame this presumed decline on the rise of transgender and queer
activism and the emergence of a "post-feminist" generation. Stein's talk will evaluate these claims and
discuss the legacy of identity politics today.

lecture is made possible by the Sally Miller Gearhart Fund, which was
established to contribute to the production of historical and
contemporary research in lesbian studies in the humanities and social
sciences. Gearhart is an author and has been a tireless activist for equal
rights and social justice for more than 40 years, both within academia and in
the public arena.

Blumberg, a friend of several WGS faculty members and a long-time friend of
Gearhart's, established the fund in 2008, agreeing to match all contributions
up to a total of $25,000. Fundraising
efforts have not yet reached the full match goal. The department is working to
build the endowment to $50,000 to provide continued support to the lecture and
other activities.