Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Gay pride adds colour to inaugural professorial lecture

November 21, 2012

Gay pride adds colour to inaugural professorial lecture

It was billed as not your usual inaugural professorial lecture, and Professor Lynda Johnston’s free public lecture at the University of Waikato last night [Tuesday November 20] certainly lived up to expectations.

About 200 people came to hear Professor Johnston speak about how gay pride parades and festivals transform the usually taken-for-granted heterosexual spaces of cities.

Her inaugural professorial lecture also featured drag queens and colourful feather boas, and at the end the audience was invited up onto the stage to join the University’s senior executives for a group performance of the Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The audience had been invited to “dress fabulously”, and acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Professor David Lumsden, who introduced Professor Johnston’s lecture, noted that although some in the audience could have tried harder, academic regalia – consisting of a gown, hood and mortaboard traditionally worn at formal academic events -- was gay enough as it is.

In her lecture entitled “Proud people and places or just more Riff Raff? The spatial politics of Gay Pride”, Professor Johnston said she’d chosen to come to the University of Waikato as a PhD student because of its history of radical, feminist, Marxist, post-colonial and Māori scholarship.

After completing her doctorate she spend three years lecturing at Edinburgh University, before returning to Waikato as a lecturer in geography and tourism studies with a research focus on the links between place, gender and sexual identities.

Her public lecture started with examples of two Hamilton monuments – the Farming Family and the Riff Raff statue. Riff Raff, she said, queers the streets of Hamilton. “It challenges the view that public monuments should be heteronormative.”

She also spoke about the experience of participating in gay pride festivals in Sydney, Edinburgh and Hamilton, and the importance for the queer community of appropriating the streets and challenging the complacency of heterosexual norms.

“Festivals are still politically important expressions of identity,” she said. “My research has found that participants often feel a mix of pride and shame, and sometimes fear of the reception they might get from the public. Feeling in or out of place – what might be called geographies of belonging.”

Professor Johnston discussed the debate surrounding the Auckland Hero parade, which was first held in 1994 and is due to be revived next year, and also talked about last year’s Hamilton’s Gay Pride festival.

“We rubbed up against the Rugby World Cup which led to a clash of cultures. This created geographies of not belonging, but also some fabulous PR opportunities. I was interviewed on Radio New Zealand National after the city council refused to allow us to hang our rainbow knitting on Victoria Bridge, although we were in the end allowed to drape it on the Riff Raff statue.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Werewolf: Katniss Joins The News Team

From the outset, the Hunger Games series has dwelt obsessively on the ways that media images infiltrate our public and personal lives... From that grim starting point, Mockingjay Part One takes the process a few stages further. There is very little of the film that does not involve the characters (a) being on screens (b) making propaganda footage to be screened and (c) reacting to what other characters have been doing on screens. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Ko Witi Te Kaituhituhi

Witi Ihimaera, the distinguished Māori author and the first Māori to publish a book of short stories and a novel, has adopted a new genre with his latest book. But despite its subtitle, this book is a great deal more than a memoir of childhood. More>>

Werewolf: Rescuing Paul Robeson

Would it be any harder these days, for the US government to destroy the career of a famous American entertainer and disappear them from history – purely because of their political beliefs? You would hope so. In 1940, Paul Robeson – a gifted black athlete, singer, film star, Shakespearean actor and orator – was one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. More>>

ALSO:

"Not A Competition... A Quest": Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Winners

Big winners on the night were Equivocation (Promising Newcomer, Best Costume, Best Director and Production of the Year), Kiss the Fish (Best Music Composition, Outstanding New NZ Play and Best Supporting Actress), and Watch (Best Set, Best Sound Design and Outstanding Performance). More>>

ALSO:

Film Awards: The Dark Horse Scores Big

An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach Genesis Potini, made all the right moves to take out top honours along with five other awards at the Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards - nicknamed The Moas. More>>

ALSO:

Theatre: Ralph McCubbin Howell Wins 2014 Bruce Mason Award

The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Ralph McCubbin Howell at the Playmarket Accolades in Wellington on 23 November 2014. More>>

ALSO:

One Good Tern: Fairy Tern Crowned NZ Seabird Of The Year

The fairy tern and the Fiji petrel traded the lead in the poll several times. But a late surge saw it come out on top with 1882 votes. The Fiji petrel won 1801 votes, and 563 people voted for the little blue penguin. More>>

Music Awards: Lorde Reigns Supreme

Following a hugely successful year locally and internationally, Lorde has done it again taking out no less than six Tuis at the 49th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news