Recent Grad Ezra Dodson 18F’s Div III Project Explores the History of Queer Communities
Ezra Dodson came to Hampshire to explore the fields of art history and queer theory. As so often happens here, those passions ultimately converged and became the study of queer history. Dodson's Div III is a culmination of their educational journey, perfectly integrating a passion for archival research with a focus on queer communities.
We had the opportunity to connect with Ezra and learn more about their time at Hampshire, Division III project, plans for post-graduation, and more.
Where are you from? What attracted you to Hampshire?
I am originally from Los Angeles, California. To be honest, I just kind of stumbled into attending Hampshire rather than feeling any kind of pull or gravitation to it, but now, after four years, I can’t imagine having been anywhere else.
Can you talk a little about your Div I and II experience and journey to your Div III.
I wasn’t strongly decided about my focus when I came to college, so it is unsurprising to me that I changed my course of study. However, the actual path I took to get here certainly had some twists I could not have anticipated. I came into my Division I work as an art history and queer theory student and, along the way, those passions merged into studying queer history. My experiences working at a public library as a work study student brought me to library science and eventually I discovered archives.
Please tell us a little about your Div III project.
My Division III was an archival research project studying the intersections of butch lesbian and FTM (female-to-male) transgender communities in the United States from 1950–90. Specifically, I used independently published queer periodicals in order to analyze the varying discourses surrounding these identities. Prior to the advent of the internet, submitting content to these magazines was one of the few ways that queer people were able to converse and form a community with one another. Last semester, I received a grant from the Ethics and the Common Good Project to take a trip to the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco so that I could do some of this research in person.
"The most rewarding part of the Div III process for me was learning what I am capable of and then challenging myself to do even better. I gained a lot of confidence in my ability to take on challenges and overcome them."Ezra Dodson 18F
Who was on your committee? Are there other faculty, programs, or resources you have also found helpful during the Div III process?
[Associate Professor of Queer Studies] Steve Dillon was my chair and [Associate Professor of U.S. Literatures and Cultural Studies] Michele Hardesty was my committee member. Steve has been advising me since my first year at Hampshire, and I met Michele as a Div II after taking her class Decolonizing the Archives. They are both wonderful professors who were so helpful in guiding me through my Div III.
What's was your favorite part of the Div III process or biggest moment of growth and learning?
Learning what I am capable of and then challenging myself to do even better. I gained a lot of confidence in my ability to take on challenges and overcome them.
What are your plans, hopes, or aspirations for after Hampshire?
I plan on pursuing a master’s degree in library science. Being an archivist is the dream for me right now, but I am also looking forward to seeing who I become after Hampshire and then following my aspirations from that point on.
How would you describe Hampshire and what advice would you give to future Hampshire students?
Hampshire College is truly whatever you wish to make of it. My advice to future students is to try and take advantage of what Hampshire has to offer, read the Daily Digest, and let yourself explore different clubs and activities. Trying to make friends in your college classes is difficult but so worthwhile as well.
And uh…eat your vegetables.