Photo by Matt D’Annunzio

Tyler Blakeney ’12

French

Hometown: Smyrna, Georgia

When I got to Reed I was: A coffee shop kid interested in literature. Few classes were offered here in queer theory, but because my professors were accommodating and open-minded, it was easy for me to study my area of interest through existing classes, independent study, and thesis work.

How Reed changed me: Reed improved my critical thinking skills. In conference I realized that the way you communicate your thoughts is almost as important as the thoughts themselves, especially if you want people to actually listen to you.

Influential book: Eve Sedgwick’s book Touching Feeling talks about how we construct our identities and live day to day, especially as a gay person. It’s important to have a critical engagement with how you identify.

Favorite spot: The third floor of Vollum where the French department is.

Cool stuff I did: I got to live in France for a year through Reed’s study abroad program and do an independent study with Luc Monnin [French 2004–] on queer 19th-century literature. I really enjoyed doing educational service work through SEEDS, reading with first graders, and helping teach English and math to middle school students.

Scholarships, awards, financial aid: I received an Opportunity Grant to present a paper at a conference in Istanbul, a grant to do research for Ann Delehanty [French 2000–], and a Ruby Grant to study 17th-century imaginative travel fiction in French with Ann this summer.

Advisers: Bill Ray [French 1972–] and Hugh Hochman [French 1999–]

Thesis: Toward a Critical Queer Literature

What it’s about: I explored different ways of thinking about queer literature and how these models functioned politically. I then proposed my own model.

What it’s really about: How queer people read books, and how the act of reading can be political.

What’s next: I plan to teach English in France next year and eventually get a PhD in French literature.

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