Serious Times Seminar with Amber L. Hollibaugh — “New Social Movements and the New Right” — Spring Semester, 2017

What were once called the New Social Movements—upsurges by students, blacks, women, and gays—are faced with a troubling new situation. For instance, the rapidity of the advance toward gay marriage has proven both heartening and disorienting. It is unclear how secure the accomplishments of gay politics will be in a future marked by resurgent nationalist movements. Nor are social facts such as the predominance of queer homelessness clearly encompassed by the progressive agenda of the last years.

Another example: the gender integration of the labor market and the transformation of women’s social roles are some of the most profound developments of human history. Yet the US election was marked by misogyny and the manipulation of the needs and demands of women. At what might seem the movements’ peak, it is worth considering a troubling thought—might the movements’ accomplishments have been to some degree premised on the sacrifice of their most profound implications and aspirations? We ask this question in order to give the best answer to another, the urgent question of the day—What resources do those committed to the advance of the causes of women and queers have to draw on in times marked by neoliberalism and the New Right?

AMBER L. HOLLIBAUGH joins the Serious Times Lecture Series at Critical Theory and the Arts to consider the transformations of the women’s and queer movements over the last 30 years that have led both to unexpected and transformative advances and to the limits and fragility of those selfsame accomplishments. Hollibaugh is a veteran of the New Social Movements, the director of the documentary “The Heart of the Matter” and the author of “My dangerous desires: a queer girl dreaming her way home.” She is a Senior Activist Fellow at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, following several years as the Director of Queers for Economic Justice. She has been a persistent advocate, speaker, thinker and provocateur, following the tenuous threads of class, race, gender, and desire in the struggle for emancipation.