History of the Professors & Researchers SIG

This article appeared in Nude & Natural 28.2 (Winter 2008), p. 83.

Professors & Researchers SIG Goes Online
by Paul LeValley

    I was aware that special interest groups of The Naturist Society periodically wax and wane in their effectiveness.  I was surprised, however, at the Mid-Winter Naturist Festival, when Nicky Hoffman Lee informed us that, at that particular moment, the Professors & Researchers SIG was the largest and most active of them all.  Largest?  Well, we do have over 40 members.  But most active?  I suppose the fat electronic newsletter goes out on time, and cumulatively over the years, we have accomplished quite a lot.

    In fact, at that same Mid-Winter meeting, some members suggested it was time to put the research documentation we have compiled online, and make it available to others.  That caused a debate among the SIG.  Should we just post our newsletters online?  Our tenured and retired members said, “Sure.  We have nothing to hide.”  But some of our younger and less established members voiced a very real concern about not putting anything on the internet that they didn’t want a prospective employer to read.  Others pointed out that the newsletter has become a place where we can speak freely and confidentially, without worry about posterity and the whole world eavesdropping; we wouldn’t want to lose that.  Also, information that appeared in driblets over several newsletters can now be pulled together on the web site and kept up to date.

    Without a consensus, we are keeping the newsletter among SIG members.  At the same time, we could agree on posting our major compilations at www.paullevalley.com/sig.  There is also a link on The Naturist Society web site.  I have, on a couple of occasions, been called an elitist for not letting people into the group who were neither professors nor researchers.  Now upcoming researchers can find the information they need to establish their credentials, and be welcomed into the SIG.

    Documents on the new site include:

    ●  Visionary colleges
    ●  Nudity-related dissertations, projects, and exams
    ●  Campus streaking
    ●  The 2003 AANR Youth Camp controversy
    ●  Collected internet writings of David Goines
    ●  Marvin Frandsen’s annotated bibliography for legal defense
    ●  Several other bibliographies, grouped by author or subject

A bit of history

    In 1999, Mark Storey organized the College Instructors SIG.  He expressed the hope that college professors could support one another in naturist-related research projects--something that has still not happened.  The group immediately attracted a respectable number of professors and got out a couple of newsletters before the contact URL quit working, and the SIG went dormant.

    I thought this was too good an idea to die.  Since Mark’s time was increasingly going into research on early nudist movies, I agreed to take on the leadership in 2002.  At the same time, the revived SIG expanded to also include serious researchers and writers on nudity-related subjects, who did not happen to teach.  The group now consists (in about equal numbers) of:

    ●  Researchers and writers on nudity, who do not teach
    ●  Professors of subjects far removed from their naturist lifestyle
    ●  Professors of subjects that involve some study of nudity

    We have professors of everything from astronomy, to mushrooms, to music, to religion, to art history.  We have librarians, computer wizards, and rocket scientists.  We have leaders in The Naturist Society and the American Association for Nude Recreation.  We have members in the Caribbean, Canada, Europe, and Australia.  It is good to have the intellectuals in this movement talking with each other.  Besides lively discussion through the newsletter, some members also consult with each other on matters of shared interest.

    Much of our work has been in archiving significant electronic documents of passing news before they vanish.  Another strength is in compiling bibliographies of printed articles related to nudity.  Many of those articles were written by members of this SIG.

    The SIG has long been pushing to make the resources of the American Nudist Research Library in Florida available to serious researchers, wherever they may live.  Those of us who also belong to AANR have been lobbying our regions to contribute generously to the library’s digitizing program.

    With less success, several SIG members have been pushing for lower student fees in The Naturist Society and the Midwestern and Canadian regions of AANR.  Our work is far from done.

    If you are already a college teacher, or have conducted nudity-related research, we want you in the SIG.  Please contact us.  Or if you just want to read some good reports and learn where to find more, visit the new web site.

Return to the SIG home page.