Old Main Room 409
Visiting Assistant Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Ryan Patrick Murphy has a PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. His expertise in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies lies in LGBT and Queer Studies, political economy, and labor and globalization.
His new book, Deregulating Desire: Flight Attendants and their Unions Since 1970, will be published as part of Temple University Press’s “Sexuality Studies” series in September of 2013. Based on his dissertation, the book takes up the workplace and union mobilization of flight attendants for U.S. airlines since 1970. It argues that ideas about “family values” have propelled efforts to remake the economy over the last four decades, efforts both by front line employees and by major corporations. Scholars and activists have widely demonstrated that the neoliberal era has faced working people with immense challenges, as the free market has become a dominant organizing force of society. But what is less discussed is that the late 20th century has also been a time for the production of new ways of living and working. With the transition to the “service” or “post-industrial” economy, fewer people have a single, living wage job, fewer people live in traditional, domesticated, nuclear families, fewer people rely on the wages of a male breadwinner, and fewer people marry. Flight attendants have taken a leading role in the broader push to politicize the needs and desires of these new familial and domestic arrangements, and to bring them to bear on the workplace. Deregulating Desire documents that social movement, demonstrating its relevance to debates about the political and economic transformation of the late 20th century.
Murphy’s teaching and research are enriched by a longstanding commitment to collaborative, publicly engaged scholarship. As a graduate student, he helped develop and manage the Twin Cities GLBT Oral History Project, a collective of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and community members committed to documenting and analyzing the history of gender and sexuality in the Midwest. Over five years, the group collected 100 oral history interviews with people identifying as or engaging with queer communities in the Postwar Midwest. Those interviews inspired Queer Twin Cities, a volume that Murphy co-edited and that was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2010.
During the 2012-2013 academic year, Murphy will teach a variety of introductory and advanced courses at Macalester. In the fall, “The Culture Wars” historicizes why so-called “social issues” like abortion, homosexuality, and feminism have produced increasingly divisive and caustic political debates. “Feminist/Queer Theories and Methodologies” asks how feminist and queer theory shape contemporary knowledge production, and how those texts might invigorate students’ own research. While history guides Murphy’s approach, all of his classes are interdisciplinary, drawing on foundational theoretical works, the newest critical scholarship, visual art, popular literature, and film.