Hello – I’m Iz Gius, and I am the genderED summer intern for 2020! I am an incoming fourth year student studying History and English Literature, and I spent the past year participating in (75% of) an Erasmus exchange at the University of Amsterdam. As a student who is passionate about gender and sexuality studies and excited about academic interdisciplinarity, working with genderED is a perfect fit. I took Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World (genderED’s flagship course) in my first year and Introduction to Queer Studies in my second. Looking back, both courses were instrumental in cementing my interests and priorities. The Queer Studies course, for example, inspired me to focus my final-year history dissertation on intersecting homophobia and racism during the early HIV/AIDS epidemic. Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World gave me the theoretical tools, background knowledge, and confidence to undertake gendered analyses in nearly all my subsequent courses, from the criminalization of third-gender communities in colonial India to queer hip-hop. I feel very honored to be able to promote research and teaching about gender and sexuality at the university and contribute to such an important initiative. Gender and sexuality studies have been a hallmark of my university experience thus far, and I’ve been cheering on genderED from afar since my first year, so I hope to communicate the vitality within this broad field in accessible and engaging ways.
This summer, I’ll be focusing mostly on the communications side of things, including social media promotion and website development. I am also working jointly with the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities to help finalize the publication of their book Dangerous Women. I am eager to gain career insights and proficiency in a professional setting, to put my personal ethics and academic interests into practice, and to develop my existing skills in new and exciting ways. Outside of university, I am the co-founder and co-Editor-in-Chief of The Rattlecap, a student-run activist publication, and have also presented and reviewed for FreshAir, the student radio station.
To me, genderED is so vital because it is a platform which promotes interdisciplinarity, connectivity, co-production, and community. It showcases and amplifies voices which are often, because of their focus on gender and sexuality, marginalized and underestimated within academic spaces. It allows researchers to connect and collaborate across disciplines, schools, and indeed even across institutions and nations. The ‘Feminist Struggles in the Academy’ webcomic exemplifies the insightful results of such collaborations. Especially for early undergraduate students, genderED is an essential reminder that there is so much more to the study of gender and sexuality than a designated ‘gender week’ which pops up in the middle of the semester to remind us that women and queer people exist in these survey courses too. The ‘living’ directories of courses, researchers, projects, networks, and events which exist on the genderED website reveal the strength and immense variety of research and teaching across the university, as well as existing opportunities for students and staff – they are a useful resource to anyone and everyone. I am so looking forward to the upcoming months working with Fiona, and I hope to help deliver sustainable strategies and impactful projects which can further the already-outstanding work happening in this community.