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Mark Roskill Graduate Symposium 2023

Jack Halberstam


Every year, the second-year cohort of graduate students in the History of Art and Architecture at UMass plans the Mark Roskill Symposium. This year, they will present TRANS* AFTER TRANS: Unmaking Gender, featuring keynote speaker Professor Jack Halberstam and Five College panelists Jen Manion, Keltie Ferris, Ren-yo Hwang, and Cameron Awkward-Rich. 

On behalf of a destituting trans project, Halberstam wants to use the language of dismantling, unbuilding, and absence to envision a different mode of representation for the trans body. By referncing the works of Yves Laris Cohen, Kiyan Williams, Cathie Opie, and Del LaGrace Volcano, we can find abstract stategies of reprsentation that invert the body, and work within the wreckage, as a way of revealing the labor of change, the effort that goes into trying to pull alternative systems out of and into the ruins of contemporary culture.

Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University, Jack Halberstam is the author of seven books including: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995); Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998); In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005); The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011); Gage Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012); Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variance (University of California Press, 2018); and Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire (Duke UP, 2020). 

Jen Manion is the Winkley Professor of History and Political Economy (History and Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies) at Amherst College.

Keltie Ferris is an abstract artist known for large-scale canvases covered with layers of spray paint and hand-painted geometric fields. 

Ren-yo Hwang is an Assistant Professor of Gender Studies and Critical Race and Political Economy at Mount Holyoke College.

Cameron Awkward-Rich is an Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


The Roskill Symposium would not be possible without the generous support of the following sponsors: 

  • The Walter Denny Fund
  • Rand Distinguished Lectures Fund
  • University Museum of Contemporary Art, UMass Amherst 
  • The University of Massachusetts Graduate School
  • Amherst College Departments of English, Sexuality, Women’s & Gender Studies and History
  • Mount Holyoke College Departments of English and Art History
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst Departments of History of Art & Architecture, English, History, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • Smith College Department of the Study of Women & Gender

Group photo of students and panel speakers
Group photo of students and panelists. Back row, left to right: Roya Peighambarzadeh, Jack Halberstam, Simone Cambridge, Alex Tievy, Lawrence Gianangeli. Front row, left to right: Jen Manion, Rebekah Rennick, Piper Prolago, Cameron Awkward-Rich, Ren-yo Hwang. Photo by Roya Peighambarzadeh.

Jack Halberstam, Jen Manion, Ren-yo Hwang, Keltie Ferris, Cameron Awkward-Rich
Roskill Symposium panel, left to right: Jack Halberstam, Jen Manion, Ren-yo Hwang, Keltie Ferris, Cameron Awkward-Rich. Photo by Olivia White.