PRIDE in Resistance: 2017 LGBTQ Book Purchasing

A Good Day to Dance Photo by Jason Devaun, used under a CC BY-ND 2.0 license.

Heritage of Pride, the organization that hosts and organizes the annual NYC Pride March, has recognized that this year, Resistance is at the vanguard of the LGBT movement. For the Pride March which will walk along the facade of the Graduate Center building, groups and individuals have chosen to walk with a resistance contingent, slated to march in unity with no sit-ins or acts of civil disobedience, no floats or vehicles, no distribution of flyers, and no gaps in between individual groups. The resistance contingent will allow signs, slogans, t-shirts, banners and the like to exclaim a position of political resistance. These brave marchers will exclaim for Pride to recall it’s political purpose, beyond celebration.

Similar to grassroots agendas, the Graduate Center’s academic purpose has contributed to this ethic of resistance through engagement with publics on LGBTQ conversations, a response to an otherwise lacking presence. Although a comprehensive list of the GC’s engagement would be much longer, this post highlights recent work at the Graduate Center library which has been co-sponsored and collaborative with CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies (the first LGBT research center in the country). In 2016-2017 academic year, for example, the library teamed up with CLAGS to provide the Graphic Activism exhibition. This was accompanied by a panel on lesbian activism and graphics collected by the Lesbian Herstory Archives. In addition, in the spring, we welcomed visiting scholar Rommi Smith who produced a performance of archival storytelling.

Yet every year, regardless of events that take place and co-sponsored by the library, the collaboration with CLAGS extends to the Carpenter Collection, three years ago described as a queer library collection, the endowment that allows for purchasing of books and materials directly related to LGBTQ subjects. This 2016-2017 academic year, sixty titles were purchased from the generous endowment, furnishing the entirety of CUNY with yet another array of titles, new and classic, with a focus on LGBTQ scholarship across varying fields of study.

A recap of this year’s Carpenter purchases will be published in the CLAGS annual newsletter, but to summarize briefly here:

Wordle from subject headings of Carpenter 2017 purchasing

With sixty total purchased titles and twenty-three 2017 publications, publishers spanned from mostly university presses to a select few independent presses like Aunt Lute Books of San Francisco. Of the purchased titles, we included controversial monographs such as Bonnie Morris’ Disappearing L : Erasure of Lesbian Spaces and Culture, to internationally published titles, such as Virgin Envy: The Cultural (In)Significance of the Hymen by Jonathan A. Allan, Cristina Santos, and Adriana Spahr, eds, published by University of Regina Press, Saskatchewan’s only scholarly publishing house. We also kept the collection development close to home, selecting titles by CLAGS and CUNY affiliates and faculty. The following three are notable to mention, but have yet to hit the shelves as they are still in processing: Jews, Queers, Germans: A Novel/History a 2017 publication by CLAGS founder Martin Duberman or Black on Both Sides : A Racial History of Trans Identity, a 2017 publication by CLAGS Board member Riley C Snorton. And what is a queer book collection without memoirs of local authors, such as Indestructible: Growing Up Queer, Cuban, and Punk in Miami by New York City-based artist Cristy C. Road? – That was a rhetorical question.

The entire list of Carpenter titles spans years of purchasing power with LC Call Numbers from A to Z.  The catalog does not supply a function to search for Carpenter titles only. However, a good practice for GC affiliates to properly engage with the collection would be to not only suggest a purchase, but browse the New Arrivals stacks on the first floor of the library near the circulation area. There you will find many titles that have, no doubt, been purchased with Carpenter funds.

Enjoy the summer reading and Happy Pride!

Signed (in Resistance via collection development),

Shawn, Your LGBTQ Liaison Librarian

About the Author

Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz is an Assistant Professor and Head of Reference at the Graduate Center Library.