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Queer Studies Caucus - Mission Statement

The founding members of the Queers Studies Caucus and principal authors of the initial mission statement were SA Smythe and Julia Heim, with ratification from QSC membership at the AAIS Annual Meeting at the University of Oregon on April 11-14, 2013. The committee charged with updating the mission statement to reflect caucus values and goals were SA Smythe, Sole Anatrone, John Champagne, Julia Heim, Sergio Rigoletto, and Matthew Zundel in October 2019.

The Caucus was borne out of conversations from founding members of a social body existing within AAIS during the 90s, known as the Gay and Lesbian Italian Studies Caucus (GLIS). The decision to reconstitute the caucus as the Queer Studies Caucus in 2012-13 was one that reflected a political commitment to broadening understandings of gender and sexuality to include people who may exist outside of⁠—or who are interested in the boundaries delimited by⁠—terms like “gay,” “lesbian,” “bisexual,” and “transgender.” This shift also encourages queer and minoritarian readings of what have otherwise been considered dominant (e.g., white, cisgender, heteropatriarchal, burgeois) discourses. The Caucus will promote an intersectional approach to the discussion of queer and gender issues within or in relation to Italy and Italian studies using feminist, literary, cultural, philosophical and political approaches. Therefore, the QSC should be considered a wholly interdisciplinary caucus. Historically, the QSC has collaborated on events and plenaries with other caucuses and the AAIS Executive Committee while remaining its own entity within the AAIS. The main goal of the QSC is to create an environment which will facilitate coordination and communication among its members including, but not limited to, the following themes in academia and Italian culture writ-large:

Queer scholarly practices, politics, identities, and theories

Eros, desire, body politics and counterpublics

Queer/gender representation throughout Italian history and culture

LGBTQ cinema and literatures

Queer readings of sociocultural, historical, and literary movements

Queer responses to racialization, migration, and other modalities of difference


Caucus fees are to be submitted to the AAIS Secretary every year, along with the general AAIS fee. For faculty, the fee is US$10, for graduate students and other members US$5. For more information, see the AAIS Membership page.

Organizing Committee

Since its establishment, the Queer Studies Caucus has operated within a system of horizontal governance within the overarching structure of the AAIS governing body in order to reflect values of queer collaboration. To maintain continuity, the organizing committee shall consist of at least two members serving as co-chairs for up to three years. These members may elect to serve in this position for an additional three years, or transition to the advisory board for up to two years. Thus, the organizing committee will consist of at least four members, with specific tasks and obligations pertaining to the organization of the Caucus. No member shall remain as leadership on the QSC Organizing Committee for more than six consecutive years without a majority vote from members of the Caucus. Elections to join QSC’s organizing committee will be held every two years in the weeks leading up to that year’s annual meeting of AAIS.



© American Association for Italian Studies 

AAIS Senior Graduate Assistant, Julia  Pelosi-Thorpe  (   

AAIS Graduate Assistant, Marcus Papandrea  ( 

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