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Decriminalizing homosexuality in Britain topic of QUEERtalks, March 9

Benjamin Britten scholar Justin Vickers will present “The Midcentury Politics of the Closet in Great Britain (and, What Parallels Still Persist?)” for the QUEERtalks series at 3 p.m. Friday, March 9, at the University Galleries, in the Main Gallery.

The event is free and open to the public.

The lecture will explore the socio-cultural climate surrounding famed composer Benjamin Britten and his spouse, Peter Pears. It will also examine the 1957 Wolfenden Report that preceded the 1967 Sexual Offences Act the following decade, which partially decriminalized homosexuality in Great Britain.

Vickers is an associate professor of voice in the School of Music at Illinois State University. An artist teacher of opera and song, Vickers has researched and published extensively on Britten. In 2013, he co-directed “Benjamin Britten at 100: An American Centenary Symposium,” an international conference and concert series held at Illinois State. A classically trained tenor, Vickers has performed in opera, oratorio, musicals, and pops concerts around the world—including Beijing, Moscow, and Vienna—and closer to home in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City. His performances include The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York. Vickers is currently writing a history of the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts during the Britten years from its founding in 1948 until the composer’s death in 1976, in advance of the Festival’s 75th anniversary in 2022.

QUEERtalks at Illinois State University focuses on new scholarship in the interdisciplinary field of LGBTQA/queer studies, with speakers presenting innovative work.

Co-sponsors of QUEERtalks are Illinois State’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program, the LGBT/Queer Studies and Services Institute, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Department of Philosophy, Department of English, Department of History, Department of Politics and Government, Latin American and Latino/a Studies, Pride, and The League of Extraordinary Genders (TLEG).

For additional information, contact the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at (309) 438-2947.

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