Lecture by Dr. Isaac West entitled, "Analogizing Same Sex and Inter-Racial Marriage"
April 10, 2014 at 7–8 pm[1h]
Beck Hall Atrium
In order to garner public support and legal traction for same-sex civil marriage rights, advocates often employ analogies comparing the prohibitions against interracial marriages to restrictions on same-sex marriages. Although there are a number of reasons to be concerned about this rhetorical strategy, and the comparisons can be crafted in better and worse ways, it need not be dismissed outright as always and only ignorant of the differences between them. In this talk, West proposes that advocates need to craft analogies sensitive to these differences so that they do not erase the histories of violence and discrimination associated with these laws.
Isaac West is Assistant Professor in the Departments of Communication Studies and Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa. He researches and teaches in the areas of rhetorical, legal, and gender studies. His first book, Transforming Citizenships: Transgender Articulations of the Law (NYU Press), contextualizes transgender claims of citizenship as discourses capable of queering legal norms and conventions. By reframing citizenship as a performative identity or as performatively produced, West argues, we are obliged to calibrate our judgments about the normative forces of citizenship against a more dynamic model of meaning-making. This talk is part of his second book, Queering Civil Rights, and it is concerned with the last seventy years of LGBTQ civil rights advocacy in the United States. Queering Civil Rights focuses on the development, circulation, and evolution of the discursive framework of civil rights as one of the ways in which LGBTQs understand themselves as individuals, collective political actors, and citizens.