A Room of One’s Own: Creating Place for the Queer Studies History at Denison University

Sheilah Wilson and Shannon Robinson (Denison University)

The Queer Studies program at Denison University has a history that includes: inception in 2000, a close call with dissolution in 2009, and the current re-emergence with many highly engaged students and faculty contributing to the thriving program.

In 2014, a grant was awarded to create a digital environment for the Queer Studies program, establishing a repository for institutional documents, class projects, faculty work, and other materials relating to the historical and contemporary LGBTQ climate at Denison. The project began by collecting interviews with faculty who had been involved in the development of the Queer Studies concentration. These interviews have proven to be an important structural element in thinking about the online presence. They give a contextual framework to the institutional materials and act as an organic timeline, by describing actual events and attitudes from a personal point of view.

Thus far the project has included the collection of interviews by founding Queer Studies faculty and students conducted by faculty member; materials digitized by the Queer Studies Student Fellow; development, interface and design of the site overseen by lead librarian. The ways in which these various strands have informed each other, and also changed throughout this process have been surprising. The interactions between the elements of technology and history will be reflected upon by all three members of the team, as well as how each portion of the project has organically informed the other in the creation of the final product.