April 16, 2008

Celebration To Honor Groundbreaking Scholar Allan Bérubé

May 1st, 2008 Open Forum Invites Remembrances

SANTA BARBARA, CA, – The Palm Center announced today that it will co-sponsor a panel discussion to celebrate and reflect on the life of the scholar and community activist, Allan Bérubé, who died in December of complications related to stomach ulcers.  The event will be hosted by its other co-sponsor, City University of New York’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS), and will be held at CUNY’s Graduate Center in New York City on May 1.  It will feature invited speakers and an open forum.

Bérubé, who died at 61, was an independent historian and community activist, and author of the Lambda Literary Award-winning Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II, which recounted the experiences of gay GIs from that war.  His work brought to light the formative influence of wartime mobilization and military life on both gay culture and American society.  Bérubé’s activism in the gay liberation movement started in the late 1960s, and in 1978 he co-founded the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project.  In 1996, he received the prestigious genius grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which allowed him to begin work on a history of gay men in the Marine Cook and Stewards Union.  He is remembered not only for his pioneering work in casting light on the gay and lesbian past but for his incisive contributions to working-class studies, and his passionate leadership of every community he inhabited.

Speakers will include Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, Thomas Glave of Binghamton University, SUNY, Amber Hollibaugh of the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force, and Jonathan Ned Katz of OutHistory.org, and the panel will be moderated by Sarah Chinn of CLAGS.

Dr. Jeanne Scheper, research director of the Palm Center, worked with Sarah Chinn, executive director of CLAGS, to organize the event.  “We envision this tribute as more than a talking heads event,” Scheper said, “but an invitation to the community to join in sharing their recollections of how Bérubé helped shape their world, even if they never met him.”  The event, she said, will combine scholarly consideration of Bérubé’s work by invited speakers with personal reminiscences of his enormous intellectual and personal impact both inside and outside academia.

The tribute, which is free and open to the public, will take place Thursday, May 1, from 7pm to 9pm on the 9th floor of the Skylight Room at CUNY’s Graduate Center, 365 5th Avenue in New York City. For more information, contact Jeanne Scheper at jscheper@palmcenter.ucsb.