The LGBTQIA oral history project studies emerging themes of Hamilton College alums who identify as LGBTQIA+ through their experiences both at Hamilton and after in their workplace. Themes such as isolation, lack of community, and alienation exist throughout most alums’ experiences. As part of a four-year project, these perspectives will be mapped out alongside American politics to help understand Hamilton’s changing perspective and the changing experiences of alums. From our current research, there is a clear shift from 2008 to 2014 due to the Obama administration taking office changing social politics on campus. The research is on-going as students in Professor Barry’s class interview alums over the next four years. With the consent of the participants, many of these interviews will be published online as an oral history archive for others to access while research continues to map out the themes. The interviews currently span from the class of 1979 to 2014 with the hopes that this range will continue to grow. Hamilton’s own history of merging with Kirkland college in 1979, an all-female college, also allows further research into the reports of a campus divide which is still hinted at in campus culture today. By January, the first two semesters of interviews will be transcribed, examined for themes, metadata developed, and logged into our database. This project will encapsulate Hamilton’s own LGBTQIA+ history paralleled to queer history in the United States and provide information that will lead to creating even more safe and inclusive environments at Hamilton College.
Duncan Davies is a member of the class of 2021 at Hamilton College from Andover, Massachusetts. He is a theater and history double major. He started his work in the Digital Humanities Initiative his sophomore fall and is currently working with Professor Barry on an LGBTQIA Oral History Project which looks to examine the changing Hamilton experience of LGBTQIA identifying individuals through alums. Duncan can often be found working on the lighting plot within Hamilton’s theater.