The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand are pleased to host Professor William Spurlin for a talk on 'What we know from the historical record: the persecution of gay men and lesbians under the Third Reich'.
Professor Spurlin is the Director of Teaching and Learning for Arts & Humanities at Brunel University London where he is also an English Professor. He has written extensively on the politics of gender and sexual dissidence and is widely known for his work on queer theory.
The presentation will take place on Sunday, March 6 from 5-7pm at Myers Hall, 80 Webb Street. Please RSVP by March 3 to: [email protected].
William J Spurlin is Professor of English and Director of Teaching and Learning for Arts & Humanities at Brunel University London. Previously, he was Professor of English at the University of Sussex, where he directed the Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence & Cultural Change for five years (2006-2011) and brought a comparative and theoretical perspective to LGBTQ research in the Centre and to postgraduate teaching in the Centre’s MA in Sexual Dissidence in Literature & Culture. Professor Spurlin has written extensively on the politics of gender and sexual dissidence and is widely known for his work on queer theory. His latest monograph, Lost Intimacies: Rethinking Homosexuality under National Socialism (2009), uses queer theory as a hermeneutic tool with which to read against the grain of hetero-textual narratives of the Holocaust and as a way for locating sexuality at its intersections with race, gender, and eugenics within the National Socialist imaginary. His book also challenges prevailing assumptions in the received scholarship that lesbians were not as systematically persecuted by the Nazis. The research for Lost Intimacies was funded by the British Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and the book is widely cited and has been reviewed in such journals as Men and Masculinities; German Studies Review; International Review of Social History; and Zeitscrift für Geschichtswissenscaft.
Professor Spurlin’s other work examines sexuality as a significant vector of social organisation and cultural arrangement in colonial and postcolonial Africa. His earlier book, Imperialism within the Margins: Queer Representation and the Politics of Culture in Southern Africa (2006), examines the politics of sexuality that emerged in South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy and the effects in the region. This work, funded by the US National Endowment for the Humanities, led to his theorisation of the racialisation of sexuality under the Third Reich, given that the framers of apartheid in South Africa visited Nazi Germany, in the years prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, to study Nazi eugenics and fascist hierarchies of race, which engendered, in both contexts, the policing of sexuality through the regulation of gender norms and racial politics. Professor Spurlin has also co-edited, with Jarrod Hayes and Margaret Higonnet, Comparatively Queer: Interrogating Identity across Time and Cultures (2010), and he has written extensively on postcolonial/queer theory, African studies, and queering translation studies in more than 50 essays in international journals and as chapters in volumes, most recently in Research in African Literatures (forthcoming), The Future of Postcolonial Studies (2015), Comparative Literature Studies (2014), Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism (2013), and Feminist Review (2010). He is currently writing a book on representations of sexual dissidence in new ‘queer’ francophone literature from the Maghreb.
Professor Spurlin has given invited lectures on his work in China, South Africa, Singapore, and across North America and Europe; he also has given lectures in French at Université de Paris III, IV (La Sorbonne), and XIII. He is Chair of the Comparative Gender Studies Committee at the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA), and he is Section Editor for the journal Postcolonial Text and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in Britain for recognised excellence in teaching. He holds a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in New York.