Collective residencies / QLGBTI+ / Olot


From Tuesday, 18 February 2020 to Friday, 28 February 2020

Assistant Professor of History
The Hague


Ann Marie Wilson is Assistant Professor of History at Leiden University College. Trained as a historian of the United States, she has written on women’s political activism in the nineteenth century. Since moving to the Netherlands in 2011, she has shifted her research focus to modern Dutch history. She is particularly interested in the interwoven histories of migration, sexual diversity, and Dutch national identity. Her current work examines the role of Dutch activists in transnational LGBTQ organizing since the 1970s, with a focus on the International Lesbian Information Service (ILIS), a group which broke away from the International Gay Association (later ILGA) in 1980 and remained active through the 1990s.

In the classroom, Ann teaches global history, queer history, and historical research methods, as well as a service-learning course on multicultural education in The Hague. Together with Andrew Shield, she is co-organizer of the Leiden Queer History Network.


At Faber, I will be writing an article about the Dutch response to the 1977 “Save Our Children” campaign of Anita Bryant, the American pop singer who led a successful charge to roll back a gay civil rights ordinance in Florida. While this episode was an important watershed in US history –reenergizing the gay and lesbian movement and sparking a longstanding political dance with the religious right — it also had reverberations abroad. In the Netherlands, the solidarity campaign led to new forms of political organizing, as well as new ideas about Dutch national identity and its relationship to LGBTQ rights.

Writing, Rest, and Reflection in the Mountains

 Olot is such a wonderful place in which to retreat and work on one’s project. Every morning I would step out onto my balcony and take in the gorgeous skyline and think: what a gift to be able to be here!  Then I would pick up some breakfast and start my day, seated at my comfortable desk overlooking the green, rich volcanic landscape. After some hours writing, it would be time for a walk into town or into the hills, to clear my head and think about the next steps of my work.  And then in the evening, always a festive meal with the other fellows.  

 None of us had expected just how important these nightly gatherings would be. Before coming to Olot, I think we had all envisioned solitary hours of quiet work filling our days and nights. There was definitely a lot of that, but every evening we would also come together and trade notes about what we were working on, and just laugh together and talk about all kinds of topics. For our thematic residency we had many interests and experiences in common, but differences were also there — and always a delight.  It was so interesting to compare our perspectives coming from so many different countries, and from varied disciplines and literary fields. I think this may have been my favourite part of all: learning about such varied approaches to storytelling. As a historian, it was particularly enriching to spend time outside of my usual academic bubble.

 And finally, I loved the opportunity to learn more about Catalonia and the rich cultural, historical, and intellectual landscape of the region. This came not only from the activities organised by Faber, but also just by walking the beautiful streets of Olot. And a definite highlight of the residency was the trip I made to Barcelona to visit Casal Lamda, the LGBT community centre that has been active since 1978. I met with researchers there who are working on projects similar to mine, and delighted in the tour of the centre’s extensive archival collections. In the coming months, one of my undergraduate research assistants in the Netherlands will get a chance to contribute to their research projects from afar, looking into letters between Spanish and Dutch activists during the 1970s and 1980s. This will be great fun for her, and a great opportunity to expand understanding of transnational queer history.

Thank you, Faber, for this wonderful opportunity!  I already miss the view from my writing desk.

Notícies, articles i activitats

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