The next meeting of the WITS Queer Theory Reading Group will take place on the 31st July at 5:30 in room SH3176 Senate House.

 

The reading will be Linn Sandberg’s article; The Old, the Ugly and the Queer: thinking old age in relation to queer theory. It can be found here.

Hope you have all had a good break; see you all there.

 

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The next meeting of the WITS Queer Theory Reading Group will take place on the 22nd May at 5:30 in room SH3176 Senate House.

 

The reading will be: “Playing queer: Affordances for sexuality in Fable and Dragon Age” by Stephen Greer. The article deals with non-heterosexual identities in mass market role-playing games.

The article can be found here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/55986016/Playing%20Queer%20-%20Affordances%20for%20Sexuality%20in%20Fable%20and%20Dragon%20Age.pdf

Hope to see you all there.

Queer fandom nowadays has become a global phenomenon. It helps exemplify the complexities, anxieties, conflicts, and negotiations within and surrounding the collision of global, national, and regional cultures. Some of its subdivided fields, such as Western slash and Japanese Boys’ Love (BL), have received significant academic attention since 1980s (e.g., Aoyama, 1988; Bacon-Smith 1992; Buckley 1991; Fujimoto 1991; Jenkins 1992; Kinsella 1998; Matsui 1993; Penley 1992; Russ 1985). Especially in recent years, the distributions and interpretations of BL across language and geographical boundaries, the distinctiveness and similarities between BL and slash genres, the pornographic aspect of BL, slash, and other forms of queer fannish productions have been emphasized in a body of scholarly literature worldwide (e.g., Brienza 2009; Chao 2013; Galbraith 2011; Glasspool 2013; Isaksson 2009; Keft-Kennedy 2008; Levi 2009; Levi & McHarry & Pagliassotti 2010; Martin 2012; McLelland 2000; Meyer 2013; Mizoguchi 2008; Nagaike 2003; Nagaike 2009; Pagliassotti 2009; Penley 1991; Perper & Cornog 2002; Sabucco 2003; Shamoon 2012; Silvio 2011; Welker 2006; Wood 2006; Wood 2013; Zanghellini 2009).

Meanwhile, the blooming of Chinese queer fandoms in the past two decades has also offered rich sites of queer representations of gender and sexuality. Greatly shaped by Chinese traditional romantic literature, Japanese BL, and Western slash cultures (Feng 2009; Xu & Yang 2013; Yang & Bao 2012; Zheng 2009), contemporary Chinese queer fan cultures have been enjoying a growing diversity. The objects Chinese fans queerly fantasize about are by no means limited to local Chinese celebrities, nor to self-identified queer celebrities. The proliferation of cross-regional, cross-cultural, and transnational Chinese queer fandoms dedicated to androgynous celebrities, queer media, and popular culture is also hard to ignore. Yet, research explicating the intricacies of gender identities, sexual desires, regional differences, national belongings, and global queer cultural convergence and hybridization within Chinese queer fandoms is still far from adequate.

To fill this research gap, this edited collection stresses the struggles, potentials, and dynamics of queerness unveiled within a variety of the fannish contexts of Greater China. Bearing on the intersecting of global cultures studies, post-colonial studies, modern queer theory, and media audience research, we view queerness as a nonstraight spectatorial position (Doty 1993; Kohnen 2008) and/or a productive space (Munoz 1999). Accordingly, we aim to examine Chinese queer fandom as a grassroots cultural palimpsest that reconfigure, contest against, trespass, and/or overturn the dominant scripts of identity and subjectivity.

We seek chapter contributions that elaborate the cultural specificities, significances, transformativity, hybridity, historicity, and futurity epitomized by Chinese queer fan cultures. We are especially keen to receive manuscripts that consider the queer dimensions of gender, sexuality, desire, and fantasy from a wide range of Chinese temporal and geographical settings. We also very welcome submissions that employ interdisciplinary and/or comparative approaches.

Manuscript topics may include but are not limited to:
Ø Genders and Sexualities in Chinese Boys’ Love/Slash and Girls’ Love/Femslash Fandoms
Ø Queerness and Performativity in Fandoms Dedicated to Anime and Cosplay/Role-Play/Life-Play in Greater China
Ø Chinese Queer Readings of Media, Popular Culture, and Celebrities Worldwide
Ø Chinese Queer Fans’ Gender- and Sexuality-Related Identities, Agencies, Subjectivities, Fantasies, Desires, Connections, and Relationships within Fan Communities
Ø Racial Representation, Distant Cultural Construction, and Non-Chinese Imagination in Chinese Queer Fan Cultures
Ø The Interrelationship and Interaction between Chinese Queer Fandoms, Queer Organizations, Queer Movements, Queer Politics, and Queer Grassroots Publics and Communities
Ø Queer, Pornographic Representations of Male/Female Sexualities in Chinese Queer Fandoms
Ø The Transgressiveness, Multivalence, and Constructedness of Masculinities and Femininities in Chinese Fan-Made Queer Productions
Ø Violence, Abuse, and Aggressiveness in Chinese Fan-Made Queer Productions
Ø The Interplay of the Boom of Boys’ Love/Slash and/or Girls’ Love/Femslash Industries, Fans’ Passions for Queering and Queerness, and the Commercialization of and Censorship on Queer Media in Greater China

Note:
We are only interested in academic analytic papers grounded in certain critical/theoretical perspectives that have NOT been published elsewhere.
To submit chapter proposal submissions for consideration, please send a 1000- to 1500-word abstract (outlining the topic, methods, and fan-related materials used) with working bibliography and a CV to the book editors at queerfandom2014@yahoo.com by May 30th, 2014.

Acceptance will be handled on a rolling basis till the end of July, 2014. Early submissions are strongly encouraged.

Completed, well-polished papers from accepted contributors should run between 5,000 to 8,500 words and are expected before the end of December, 2014.

Radical Negativity: Interrogating productive possibilities for negative states of being

Friday 13 June 2014
Goldsmiths, University of London
Conference Keynote: Lisa Blackman, Professor in Media and Communications, Goldsmiths

Supported by the Centre for Feminist Research, Department of Media and Communications, and the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths.

Website: http://radicalnegativity.com

Proposals are due by Friday 14 February 2014

More recent feminist and queer scholarship has begun to productively address the dark aspects of human subjectivity perceived to have a detrimental impact on the self-constituting practices of the positive self, such as shame, trauma, unhappiness, loss, pain, and melancholia, and reconceptualise them not only as integral to the process of subject formation, but critical and productive affective states in which to engage political action.

This interdisciplinary conference addresses the ways in which feminist and queer research may be informed by embracing philosophical oppositions, the ‘negative double’ of the positive value. The conference will interrogate what can be learned from interventions focused on the interconnections between the negative and human agency, and how such a frame can inform ideas of feminist and queer practice.

Borrowing from Eve Sedgwick, this conference proposes that forms of the negative are “not distinctly ‘toxic’ parts of a group or individual identity that can be excised; they are instead integral to and residual in the processes by which identity itself is formed. They are available for the work of metamorphosis, reframing, refiguration, transfiguration, affective and symbolic loading and deformation (Sedgwick and Frank, 2003, p.63).”

If, like Sedgwick, we take up this challenge to valorise negative states of being as key conditions both for the production of meaning and being and as organising principles of identity, then we hope explorations into such states may provide the potential to open up new possibilities for politics and connection.

We invite papers and panel proposals that explore how negative states and conditions of being such as unhappiness, irresponsibility, passivity, vulnerability, failure, shame, hesitancy, pain, dispossession, rage, madness and depression may provide loci from which action and political engagement can arise.

Submission Guidelines

Please submit paper abstracts of 300-500 words along with a short biography of 100 words.

Panel proposals should include a 300-word description along with accompanying paper abstracts for the panel of 300-500 words. Please provide a short 100-word biography for each presenter.

Email submissions to: radicalnegativity@gmail.com by Friday 14 February 2014.

Colloquium: Heteronormativity and health in education and practice

 

Sexual orientation and gender identity are social determinants of health for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, as homophobia and heteronormativity persist as prejudices in society.

South Africa’s health system faces unique challenges: a quadruple burden of disease, a significant loss of health workers to other countries, challenges in health management, as well as the social context of high levels of poverty and unemployment, and a large HIV epidemic. All of these factors warrant an investigation into the health of LGBTI people specific to the South African context, to take into account the intersections of marginalised sexual and gender identities with other forms of discrimination and social exclusion. In the recent years, national health programming has included certain LGBTI identities into key policies such as the National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB and STIs. However, LGBTI people face numerous challenges in accessing health care, ranging from discrimination at the hands of health care workers to a lack of LGBTI-specific health information and resources. Initiatives that address heteronormativity in health care provision, as well as in health worker education, are urgently needed.

Aim

The aim of this colloquium is to create a platform for South African academics, civil society representatives, community representatives and practitioners to share and discuss their work and experiences in challenging heteronormativity in the South African health system.

To this end, the colloquium aims to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To identify and share existing research on health care needs for sexual minorities in South Africa, and present strategies to address these needs.
  2. To explore the impact of heteronormativity in health service delivery and in health education at higher education institutions.
  3. To demonstrate best practice, tools and methodologies in learning and teaching about non-normative sexualities and challenging heteronormativity at Higher Education Institutions and in the health system, and to identify areas for future research.
  1. To develop an agenda for socially responsive research through partnerships with LGBTI organisations to inform research, education and practice within the health sciences, and to create a network of researchers, civil society representatives and health care practitioners.

 

Format of contributions

The colloquium will consist of research presentations and interactive skills-building workshops. Paper presenters will have 15 mins for presentation, followed by a 5 minute Q&A session. Workshops will be 90 mins long, and cater for a maximum of 15 participants. Both formats will address one (or more) of the themes identified below. Ideally, the workshop sessions will provide more practical aspects to complement the theoretical paper presentations.

Presenters of papers should share findings from empirical research that address one (or more) of the themes identified below. Paper abstracts should be 300 words long, and follow the format of scientific abstracts (introduction – methodology – findings – discussion).

Interactive workshop sessions are meant to allow colloquium participants to enhance their skills in addressing heteronormativity in the health sciences. These could range from strategies to visibilise heteronormativity in institutional settings, to practical skills for teaching and facilitating. Abstracts for interactive workshop sessions should be 500 words long and specify the following: rationale/ background – aim – format – target audience.

Please submit your abstract by 31st March 2014, via email to heteronormativity.conference@gmail.com.

 

Themes

  1. Impact of heteronormativity on health and health care
  2. Strategies to address institutionalized heteronormativity in health care education and the health services
  3. Engaging health care workers around heteronormativity
  4. Heteronormativity in health care worker professional education
  5. Heteronormativity in patient health education and health prevention messaging

Papers that don’t address these specific themes but contribute to advancing the overall colloquium objectives are also welcome.

 

Contributors

With this colloquium, we aim to create a space for dialogue and collaboration between academic institutions, civil society organisations, government representatives, and health care practitioners. The focus of this colloquium is on work around heteronormativity and health in South Africa, and we encourage contributors to share practice-related aspects of their work.

The colloquium will have space for 35 participants. Preference will be given to presenters of workshops and papers. If you would like to attend without presenting, please contact us and explain

–          Why you would like to attend,

–          How it will benefit your work, and

–          How you would share the conference outcomes with your network(s).

People who identify as non-heteronormative are especially encouraged to apply.

 

Registration cost

Registration for the colloquium will be free of charge. We will not be able to provide financial support for travel to or accommodation in Cape Town, but we will provide information on affordable accommodation near the colloquium venue.

 

Deadlines and notifications

31st March 2014: Deadline for abstract submission for individual presentations and workshops

18th April 2014: Notification about acceptance

1st May – 31st July 2014: Registration (this is required for accepted presenters and workshop facilitators)

15/ 16th August 2014: Colloquium in Cape Town

 

For more information and conference updates, please visit our website: www.health-normativity.co.za, or email our conference email address (heteronormativity.conference@gmail.com).

 

We are looking forward to receiving your contributions!

 

Dr Alexandra Muller & Dr Chris Colvin

School of Public Health and Family Medicine

University of Cape Town

alexandra.muller@uct.ac.za