The Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes, and Good Intentions are Sabotaging Gay Equality

Suzanna Walters, April 18th, 3:30 PM, John Dewey Lounge
Suzanna Walters is Director of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University. Her book,
The Tolerance Trap, explores how notions of tolerance limit the possibilities for real liberation and deep social belonging. Her previous book, All the Rage: The Story of Gay Visibility in America examined the explosion of gay visibility in culture and politics, raising questions about the politics of visibility and sexual identity. Sponsored by The Department of Sociology and the Gender, Sexuality, and Women Studies Program.

In Memoriam: Gordon F. Lewis, Professor of Sociology Emeritus

By Craig E Wells

The College of Arts and Sciences recently learned that Gordon F. Lewis, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology Emeritus at the University of Vermont, passed away on March 18, 2014.

Prof. Lewis was an active and beloved member of the faculty and community, serving as Chair of Sociology, President of UVM's Faculty Senate, as well as many other positions. Known for his charm, amiability, and commitments to progressive social change, he was a key and influential figure at UVM. He will be missed.

Born February 25, 1924, Gordon F. Lewis came from a modest background, growing up in New Jersey during the depression. Told by his mother that "poor boys can't go to college," he ignored her advice and enrolled in Rutgers University in 1942; by March of his freshman year he was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving as a 1st Sergeant in the Pacific theatre, posted to Okinawa. In 1946, he returned to Rutgers, where he discovered the field of sociology. After getting a Masters in Sociology at the University of Kentucky, he was offered a position teaching some courses there, whereupon he decided he wanted to make a career in academia and pursued a Ph.D. He taught at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, in 1960 moved to Elmira College in Elmira, New York, and a year later took a position at UVM, where he remained an active member of the faculty until retirement in 1988.

A memorial service to celebrate Gordon's life was held at 3 p.m. April 5, 2014, at Stephen C. Gregory and Son, 427 Meadowland Dive, Suite 7, in South Burlington. Condolences may be made online at

For an interesting oral history interview of Prof. Lewis about his early life, see:

Professor Eleanor Miller Wins Fulbright to Study Drug Policy in Portugal

Eleanor Miller, professor of sociology and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a Fulbright research grant to study Portugal’s shift from criminalizing drug use to a treatment-based model for supporting addicts. In the spring of 2015 Miller will be based in Lisbon at Universidade Nova’s law school, Faculdade de Direito. In addition to her research she will be teaching an undergraduate course in inequality and crime and a graduate seminar in comparative drug policy. Over the past ten years, explains Miller, Portugal has, in a sense, decriminalized drugs, putting those found with less than a ten-day supply into a treatment program rather than into the prison system (though dealing drugs remains illegal). “I’m interested in what there is to learn from the Portuguese for our state,” she says, noting Vermont’s increasing problems with substance abuse. Portugal has not, Miller adds, become a tourist destination for those seeking drugs, as Amsterdam has. Miller, who has an expertise in sociology and gender, will be researching the effects of the policy on poor women in particular, as well as the broader societal impact of diverting public spending towards treatment. She expects to interview policy makers and government officials as well as private individuals.