For Immediate Release—Wednesday, Oct.18, 2006



Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516

Laura Doan to Speak at SUNY Geneseo's

Rose Alent Lecture Nov. 13

Geneseo, N.Y.—Laura Doan, professor of cultural history and sexuality studies, as well as English and American studies, at the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures at the University of Manchester, will be the featured speaker at the second annual Rose Alent Lecture and Bash at the State University of New York at Geneseo. The lecture takes place 4 p.m. Nov. 13 in the Alice Austin Theater in Brodie Hall. The bash will follow at 5 p.m. Nov. 13 in the Brodie Lounge.

Doan, a former English professor at Geneseo, is the author of the award-winning book "Fashioning Sapphism: The Origins of a Modern English Lesbian Culture." In 2003, she received the John Boswell Prize for an Outstanding Book on Lesbian/Gay History by the Committee on Lesbian and Gay History of the American Historical Association. Doan is also the editor of several collections of essays on sexual identity, sexology, modernism and postmodernism. 

Doan's lecture is entitled, "Topsy-Turvydom:  Women, Sexuality and the Great War."  This is also the title of her current book project, which is, "an attempt to rethink the ways in which we historicize sexuality," says Doan. "I'm focusing especially on the First World War because of its profound impact on women's lives."

It is no surprise why Doan was selected to speak at the lecture. "Each year we invite a respected professor in the humanities area," says Becky Glass, executive assistant to the president of the college. "Professor Doan was a valuable member of Geneseo's English department before moving to her current position at Manchester, and we are glad to welcome her back."

Doan is extremely excited to make her way back to Geneseo. "Since I left Geneseo in 2001, I've only returned to the United States a few times, and I've never been back to upstate New York. I was thrilled to be invited to speak at the lecture and I can't wait to meet up with old friends and colleagues," says Doan. 

"I now teach in the largest university in Britain. There are more members of academic staff than Geneseo's student population. It's easy to get lost in such a huge institution, and I miss teaching in a place where you know most everyone. Manchester is a really dynamic city, but it's gritty. No one would ever accuse it of being charming. Geneseo, on the other hand, is a charming village, and I miss the beautiful views of the Genesee Valley. Most surprisingly, I miss the bitter cold winters and all of the snow. We're lucky if we get a dusting the entire winter," says Doan.

Even after teaching at a major university in a different country, Doan still finds that Geneseo students are one of a kind. "I'm often asked about the differences I've noticed between Geneseo students and the British students. The honest answer is that both groups of students are the same in a lot of ways. I think Geneseo students should know they are just as good as students everywhere else, and when it comes to their willingness to work hard and get ahead in life, they have the edge. Geneseo students should feel proud of their institution and their own accomplishment in studying at one of the best public universities in the Northeast," says Doan.

While at Geneseo, Doan established a reputation as one of the most distinguished professors at the college. She taught English from 1983 through 2001. She was the recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1992, and from 1999-2001 she held the Robert W. MacVittie Professor of English Supported Professorship. Doan earned her bachelor's degree from the University of San Diego in 1973, her master's from San Francisco State University in 1975 and her doctorate degree from the University of Chicago in 1983. 

The Rose Alent lecture is being held in the memory of Rose Alent. Known fondly to many as Geneseo's Rose, Alent passed away in March 1997 at the age of 74. Following her death, many alumni and friends whose lives were touched by Rose made contributions to the Geneseo Foundation to establish an endowment fund in her name.

A native of Bruhl, Germany, Alent developed the first French and German language courses at Geneseo and was instrumental in establishing a foreign languages department at the college. She was extremely dedicated to the college and her students, and frequently hosted them for informal discussions and meals and snacks in her home. She also led popular annual tours to European countries for groups of alumni, community residents and friends. Alent earned prestigious awards from the French and German governments for excellence in teaching and publishing.

All members of the college and local communities are invited to attend the lecture and bash on Nov 13. These events are sponsored by the President's Office.


Written by Joe Mignano, public relations intern in the Office of Communications and Publications.