Expanding the Notion of Queer Space: Histories, Theories, and Practices - A Panel Discussion

FEB 27, 2020 | 5:30 PM TO 7:00 PM

The Empire State Building with Rainbow Photo Credit: Brandon Blattner



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
The Segal Theatre


1218: Segal Theatre


February 27, 2020: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM






The Office of Academic Initiatves and Strategic Innovation


212-817-2474 or


Earth and Environmental Sciences, along with The Office of Academic Initiatives and Strategic Innovation cordially invites you to attend Expanding the Notion of Queer Space: Histories, Theories, and Practices - A Panel Discussion, on February 27, 2020 at 5:30pm.

Moderated by: Stefanos Milkidis, Ph.D. Student, Graduate Center, CUNY and with panelists: Joel Sanders, FAIA - Yale University, Benjamin Shepard, Ph.D. NY City College of Technology, CUNY, and Sean Weiss, Ph.D. - The City College of NY, CUNY.

Over the last four decades, scholars in social sciences have been paying theoretical and empirical attention to exploring the ways in which urban space is simultaneously gendered and sexualized.

The potential of using queer space as an integrating concept that disrupts and disorients the neoliberal city is not yet fully realized, not yet fully legible. Organized by the Queer Space Studies Initiative and the Earth and Environmental Sciences PhD Program Colloquium Series, a panel discussion between distinguished scholars that have delved into the nature and experience of queer urban geographies will aim to: (1) reflect upon the notion of queer space as historically and culturally contingent and the new directions it is taking in the 21st century; (2) critically discuss some of its objects of investigation and assumptions; (3) explore possibilities through which our understanding of queer spaces can be expanded by acknowledging and promoting an intersectional ethos; and (4) make recommendations for further research and scholarship that specifically investigate queer occupation of places in the built environment.


Joel Sanders, FAIA is the Principal of JSA, his award-winning architecture firm based in New York as well as MIXdesign, a new inclusive design consultancy that promotes human connectivity among people of different ages, genders, disabilities, races and religions, enabling progressive institutions, government agencies and companies to recruit and retain diverse talent. For the past two years, Sanders has spearheaded Stalled!, an interdisciplinary design-research project that takes as its point of departure national debates surrounding transgender access to public restrooms to address the need to create safe, sustainable and inclusive public restrooms for everyone. Sanders is also a Professor at Yale School of Architecture where he is the Director of the M.Arch II Program. He is the editor of STUD: Architectures of Masculinity and Groundwork: Between Landscape and Architecture - his writings and practice have explored the complex relationship between culture and social space, looking at the impact that evolving cultural forces have on the designed environment. JSA projects have been featured in international exhibitions and the permanent collections of MoMA, SF MoMA, Art Institute of Chicago and the Carnegie Museum of Art. The firm has received numerous awards, including six New York Chapter AIA Design Awards, three New York State AIA Design Awards, three Interior Design Best of Year Awards, two ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Awards, and Design Citations from Progressive Architecture.

By day, Benjamin Shepard, PhD, LMSW, works as Professor of Human Services at City Tech/CUNY.  By night, battles to keep New York from becoming a giant shopping mall.  To this end, he has done organizing work with the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), SexPanic!, Reclaim the Streets, Times UP, the Clandestine Rebel Clown Army, Absurd Response, CitiWide Harm Reduction, Housing Works, More Gardens Coalition, Times UP!, Right of Way, and Occupy Wall Street. He is also the author/editor of ten books,  including:  White Nights and Ascending Shadows: An Oral History of the San Francisco AIDS Epidemic (1997), From ACT UP to the WTO: Urban Protest and Community Building in the Era of Globalization (2002), Queer Political Performance and Protest (Routledge, 2009) The Beach beneath the Streets: Contesting New York’s Public Spaces (with Greg Smithsimon, SUNY Press, 2011) and Play, Creativity, and Social Movements: If I Can’t Dance, Its Not My Revolution (Routledge, 2011), Brooklyn-Tides (with Mark Noonan, Transcript, 2018),  Illuminations-on-Market-Street (Ibidem,  2019), Narrating-practice-with-children-and-adolescents (co edited with Mery Diaz,  Columbia University Press, 2019),  as well as Sustainable Urbanism (in  Press).

In 2010, he was named to the Playboy Honor Role as one of twenty professors “who are reinventing the classroom.”  A social worker, he has worked in AIDS services / activism for two decades, joining ACT UP Golden Gate in the early 1990’s, opening two congregate facilities for people living with HIV/AIDS, serving as deputy director for a syringe exchange program, all while remaining active in efforts to bridge the gap between direct action and direct services.  Today, he remains involved in organizing efforts around transportation, HIV/AIDS, labor, public spaces and environmental policy. Trained at the University of Chicago School of Social Services Administration, the City University of New York Graduate Center, the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology as well as through collaboration with some of the most powerful organizers and movements of this era, Shepard combines these experiences to frame his community practice.

Sean Weiss, Ph.D. – The City College of New York, CUNY. Dr. Weiss, earned his Ph.D. in Art History, at Graduate Center, City University of New York, 2013 and his BA with Honors in Art History, Vassar College, 1997. He is currently an assistant professor, at City College of New York, CUNY, since 2013. He has written numerous essays: Through a Filtered Lens: Photography and the Politics of Potable Water in Modern Paris. Forthcoming in Technology and Culture, Introduction: Cities on Paper: On the Materiality of Paper in Urban Planning Co-authored introduction to a co-edited special section of Journal of Urban History (OnlineFirst edition, Sept. 2019), The Dravert Affair: Paperwork and the Administration of Negligent Street Maintenance in Modern Paris ( Journal of Urban History - OnlineFirst edition, Sept. 2019), Between Social Engagement and Neoliberalism (In Non-Standard Architectural Productions) Between Aesthetic Experience and Social Action (Edited by Sandra L√∂schke, pp. 235-252. London: Routledge, 2019), Architecture in 2018: Look to the Streets, not the Sky, The Conversation (4 January 2018), and The Empire’s New Veil, Log 16 (Spring/Summer 2009): 133-142.