Wannes Dupont on “Pinks, Reds and Post-war Blues”

Wannes Dupont (NUS Yale Singapore), “Pinks, Reds and Post-war Blues: Homosexuality and Global Institutions in the Early Cold War Era”

Thursday 3 November, 12.30-1.30 pm, A. D. Hope G28; online (contact Russell.Smith@anu.edu.au)

Today, as pluralism and the civil integration of sexual minorities have become hallmarks of Western countries’ liberal identity, we must recall that the opposite was the case when the notion of ‘the West’ emerged out of the ruins of World War II. During the 1940s and -50s, North America was in the grip of simultaneous ‘Red’ and ‘Lavender’ scares that involved the active persecution of communists and queers at scale. These scares reflected the need for moral restoration after a period of drastic social changes. This talk addresses how Europe also saw an unprecedented wave of homophobia between 1945 and 1965. It demonstrates how local dynamics resonated with transnationally circulating concerns to bolster a widespread fear of ‘homosexual seduction’. During the long 1950s, however, growing international cooperation in the lap of the newly founded United Nations and organisations like Interpol also paved the way for homosexuality’s (partial) decriminalisation during the 1960s and the 1970s.

Wannes Dupont is currently Assistant Professor of History at Yale-NUS College in Singapore, but will become a Lecturer in the History of Sexuality at the University of Edinburgh come January. He previously conducted research as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University and as a postdoctoral fellow of the Flemish Research Foundation at the University of Antwerp. His research focuses on the European and global sexual past, queer history, reproductive politics, and the intersections of biopolitics and religion.

This seminar is funded courtesy of the Research School of Humanities and the Arts Visiting Fellows scheme

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