William Cheng to present SBAI’s 2017 Rainbow Lecture

Poster for Rainbow Lecture "Locker room talk: pussies, guns, and video gaymers". The poster features a screen shot from a video game in which we have a first person view of a hand holding a rainbow bat inscribed with the text "I like men" in a dingy, artificially lit space with a locker, and with a calendar on the wall with a pin-up-esque woman pictured.The Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies (SBAI) at the University of Rochester welcomes Dr. William Cheng, Assistant Professor of Music from Dartmouth College, to present our 2017 Rainbow Lecture on Thursday, April 13th at 5:00pm in the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees Library. Free parking is available in Library Lot. Follow our Facebook event page here for updates and details.

The Rainbow Lecture was inaugurated in 2012 by the SBAI to address LGBTQ+ topics from an academic perspective. It is presented annually during LGBTQI Awareness Month at the University of Rochester and has been funded by the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. The Rainbow Lecture is always open to the public and each year our fantastic speakers help us strengthen support for further LGBTQ+ programming at the University.

Image of William Cheng, 2017 speaker for SBAI's annual Rainbow Lecture

William Cheng (Dartmouth)

Cheng’s lecture is titled: “Locker Room Talk: Pussies, Guns, and Video Gaymers”, and will offer critical reflections on how verbal barbs and virtual barbarities in online gameworlds scramble the fieldworker’s moral compass. With an ear toward matters of masculinity, surveillance, shame, and activism, Cheng asks whether a video game ethnography—maybe any ethnography—activates a queer ethics, a flux of guiding principles defined precisely by their playful indefinition

Cheng was chosen to present the 2017 Rainbow Lecture by a group of faculty associates of the SBAI. Cheng is Assistant Professor of Music at Dartmouth College where he teaches music, media, and ethics, with a focus on sound, politics, and power. Drawing on a wide range of influences, including queer theory, disability studies, and affect theory, Cheng offers scholarship that is innovative, accessible to multiple audiences, and that blends the critical with the personal.

His books include “Sound Play: Video Games and the Musical Imagination” (Oxford University Press, 2014), Just Vibrations: The Purpose of Sounding Good (University of Michigan Press, 2016, recipient of the AMS Philip Brett Award and named a 2016 Book of the Year by Times Higher Education), All the Beautiful Musicians (f. Oxford, supported by Harvard’s William F. Milton Fund), Touching Pitch: Dirt, Debt, Color (f. Michigan), and the edited volume Queering the Field (f. Oxford, with Gregory Barz).”

Past Rainbow Lecture speakers are:


Kathryn Lofton, Yale University
“State Secrets, Gay Marriage, and The Morning-After Pill: Conscience in the Age of Corporate Religious Freedom”

Ann Pellegrini, New York University
“Protesting Death, Queer Mourning”

Kristen Renn, University of Michigan
“Creating Environments for LGBTQ College Student Success”

Rev. Patrick Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School
“Rainbow Theology: Bridging Race, Sexuality, and Spirit”

William Eskridge, Jr., Yale University Law School
“The Long Road to Marriage Equality, 1970-2012 and Beyond”

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