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Michelle TeaMichelle Tea
Author and Cultural Icon
As the featured keynoter of this event, and as an author with a devoted fan base, Michelle Tea probably needs no introduction. Tea is an incredibly accomplished figure in the contemporary literary world, having published four memoirs, including the award-winning queer coming-of-age narrative, Valencia. She has also published a novel (Rose of No Man’s Land) and one book of poetry (The Beautiful), as well as an anthology about working-class experience (Without a Net) and another about queer femme romance (Baby, Remember My Name). Her first young adult novel, Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, was published in 2013. Most recently, Tea reached an entirely new audience through her compelling columns for the webzine xojane, “Getting Pregnant with Michelle Tea,” where she documented her efforts to become pregnant and start a family with her genderqueer partner. Her talk will focus on the topic of queer motherhood and LGBT family life, perhaps also drawing on her most recent book, How to Grow Up, about the process of achieving her dreams and embracing life’s uncertainty.

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Shelley ParkDr. Shelley M. Park
Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Central Florida
Park will open the symposium with a lecture based on her scholarly monograph, Mothering Queerly, Queering Motherhood: Resisting Monomaternalism in Adoptive, Lesbian, Blended and Polygamous Families, published by SUNY Press in 2013. From the publisher: “Bridging the gap between feminist studies of motherhood and queer theory, Mothering Queerly, Queering Motherhood articulates a provocative philosophy of queer kinship that need not be rooted in lesbian or gay sexual identities. . . . Despite widespread cultural insistence that every child should have one—and only one—‘real’ mother, many contemporary family constellations do not fit this mandate. Park highlights the negative consequences of this ideology and demonstrates how families created through open adoption, same-sex parenting, divorce and plural marriage can be sites of resistance. Drawing from personal experiences as both an adoptive and a biological mother and juxtaposing these autobiographical reflections with critical readings of cultural texts representing multi-mother families, Park advocates a new understanding of postmodern families as potentially queer coalitional assemblages held together by a mixture of affection and critical reflection premised on difference.”

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Directions to campus
Center for Women's and Gender Studies 

Past events
Bodies of Knowledge 2008 View photos on Flickr!
Bodies of Knowledge 2014 View photos on Flickr!

Contact us
Dr. Lisa Johnson, Director
Center for Women's & Gender Studies
USC Upstate
800 University Way
Spartanburg, SC 29303
(864) 503-5724