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K-State Today

March 25, 2011

New anti-bullying campaign focus of lecture by author Jasbir Puar

By Julie Fosberg

The work of award-winning author Jasbir Puar will be featured at the 20th annual Cultural Studies Symposium on Friday, April 1, at Kansas State University. The symposium is the longest-running cultural studies conference in the United States.

"With her visit to K-State, Jasbir Puar joins a distinguished group of visiting scholars who have participated in the department's annual Cultural Studies Symposium in the last 20 years," said Karin Westman, head of the department of English, which organizes and sponsors the event. "We look forward to her lecture and the discussions it will spark."

Puar is an associate professor of women's and gender studies at Rutgers University. Her lecture, "The Cost of Getting Better: Suicide, Sensation, Switchpoints," is from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Little Theater at the K-State Student Union. It is free and open to the public.

"We hope the university community will attend since her talk on the popular anti-bullying campaign, 'It Gets Better,' should be of interest to all. The campaign addresses the suicides of LGBTQ teens and young adults that have recently received national media attention," said Don Hedrick, professor of English and director of the cultural studies program.

Puar is the author of "Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times," which won the 2007 Cultural Studies Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies. In the book, she explores the intersections of current U.S. nationalist, anti-terrorist and neo-liberal discourse with homophobia, race, ethnicity and gender. Her research interests include gender, sexuality, globalization; postcolonial and diaspora studies; South Asian cultural studies; and theories of assemblage and affect.

"Jasbir Puar is a prominent new scholar in American studies who teaches us to think critically about issues that we typically want to classify in terms of 'good' and 'bad,'" said Tanya Gonzalez, assistant professor of English and cultural studies program faculty member. "Her work brings together such diverse issues as gay marriage and global perceptions of Muslims in some of the most interesting discussions of identity politics to come out within the last decade."

The lecture is sponsored by K-State's department of English, women's studies program and the offices of the president and provost.