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Studying Duke and Durham's LGBTQIA+ History

Your Librarians

Laura Micham, Curator, Gender and Sexuality History Collections and Director, Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture, Rubenstein Library (


  • Divide students into pairs or small groups. Within those groups, designate one person as the notetaker, one person as the timekeeper, and one person as the reporter.
  • Have students explore 2 or 3 of the publications in the list below. These can be assigned or groups can choose. Students can access a digitized copy of a publication by clicking on its title in the list.
  • Have students spend 10 minutes browsing through their publication, making notes (including page numbers!) of anything that interests or puzzles them. Allow students to turn off their cameras and microphones while they work. Students may not have enough time to look through all of their publication—that’s fine!
  • In their groups, have students spend 10 minutes sharing their observations about their group's publication.
    • To start, the timekeeper will give each group member one minute to share their observations with the rest of the group.
    • With the remaining time, work together to answer the group discussion questions (see below).  


Feminary coverGay Morning Star, issue 1 (March 1973)

Feminary, vol. 9, no. 1 (Spring 1978)

The Newsletter, vol. 2, no. 15 (May 1983)

The Newsletter, vol. 7, no. 1 (October 1987)

Southern Exposure, vol. 16, no. 3 (Fall 1988)

Aurora, vol. 1, no. 1 (Spring 1989)

Outlines, vol. 1, no. 1 (May 1995)

Womyn: The Queer Experience, issue 2 (Spring 2013)

Discussion Questions: Getting to Know Your Publication (10 minutes)

We offer these questions as guidance; you may notice and investigate other details about your publication, and that's great! You'll be sharing your thoughts about these questions or your own observations with your small group in the next step of this activity, so you may want to take notes.

  • What do you notice about the physical characteristics of the publication? For example, is it photocopied or glossy? How are colors and graphics used? 
  • Who created the publication you’re looking at and why do you think it was created? Is it a Duke or a Durham/local publication? Is there a specific point the creators were trying to make or message they were trying to send?
  • How do these publications make you feel? How do they help you see your own role in LGBTQIA+ history?

Discussion Questions: Discussing Your Publication in a Small Group (10 minutes)

  • Do different articles and features tell the same story but in different ways? Are some articles or features more powerful or effective in sharing information? If so, why?
  • After exploring these publications, what would you tell a friend about queer history at Duke and in Durham?
  • Sometimes historical sources raise as many questions as they answer. What questions do you still have about the publication you explored? 

Suggested Follow-Up Assignment

Create a zine!

What is a Zine?

A zine is a small, self published booklet. Zines are a great way to share your art, poems, writing, musings, and anything else you want to express. Like the LGBTQIA publications students explored during the session, zines are characterized by freedom of thought, subversion, and the sharing of lived experiences.

As students consider the questions and prompts in this guide, they can write, draw, collage, or otherwise record your reflections on paper. You could make your own minizine or zine or contribute a page to a class zine!

Resources about zine making: