QueerUS: Language, Space, and the University of Saskatchewan

October - December 2013

Lead Curator: Joel Fonstad

Location: Link Gallery, First Floor, Murray Building

QueerUS: Language, Space, and the U of S is one of a number of projects this Fall, designed to highlight the rich history and presence of queer culture in Saskatoon. The exhibition draws publications, ephemera, and other material from the Neil Richards Collection of Sexual and Gender Diversity (and a few other collections at University Archives & Special Collections) to illustrate the cultural shifts that have occurred, locally and internationally, in terms of language and space usage in the realms of gender expression and sexual orientation.

The curators, Joel Fonstad (University Learning Centre), Martin Winquist (PhD Candidate, Department of English), and Elana Gellar (University Learning Centre), have chosen pieces based on the perspective each piece presents on gender and/or sexuality to its intended audience.

You will see:

  • Graphic representations of queerness (comic art, people, get your mind out of the gutter)
  • Handbooks for those who have come out of the closet, their friends, and families
  • Field guides for those interested in appropriately identifying the homosexual and the lesbian in the wild, so that they know how to avoid appearing to be queer themselves (or so that they know who to approach)
  • Cultural perspectives on Queer Political Activism
  • Religious oppression and freedoms
  • Images of vaudevillian drag performers
  • Tawdry pulp representations of womanly love
  • And MORE…

There are also a few pieces of local historical interest: pictures of men and women, dressed in drag, found in copies of The Greystone (the U of S Yearbook) from the 1930s, and a 1913 copy of Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, formerly removed from the U of S Library collection by unknown means and containing the only known remaining example of a U of S circulation card. The dates on the circulation card illustrate the shifting acceptance of sexual diversity over the past century: surprisingly active in the 20s, and unsurprisingly dormant throughout the late 40s and 50s, only to be remembered again in the 60s.

The exhibition provides a visual smorgasbord of conflicting perspectives on how to approach issues of gender and sexuality. Each display case presents either a snapshot of a time in history or a chronology of shifting perspectives. Come bathe in the confusion our collective prejudices and changing values have created over the years.

There will be a dessert reception and short program on Thursday, October 3, 2013 from 7-9 PM. Forget about transforming for now, and please join us as we invite the U of S community to QueerUS. 

Several special events have also been organized by campus partners to supplement and further explore the themes of the QueerUS exhibition. More information



Share this story