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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.

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CFP for peer-reviewed online academic journal “View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture”, issue 5

What is a queer image? The first answer, which comes to mind seems obvious—queer images portray lives of non-normative sexualities and document the existence of ever-changing LGBTQ communities from the present and past. To this, we should also add images created by queer painters, activists, sculptors, film directors, performers, designers.

And then, one could also point to an archive of images important for these queer collectives, a repository filled with artworks by Andy Warhol, musical posters, Douglas Sirk melodramas, music videos by Grace Jones, photo portraits of David Wojnarowicz, boa feathers and blush etc. etc.

This list doesn’t seem satisfactory. This is perhaps because not every representation of a non-normative sexuality has to resist hetero-norms; not every image created by a person identifying as queer has to carry a subversive potential, and finally because a common archive often, after some time, seizes to offer shelter and instead becomes an essentializing trap.

What if we try using queer theory and practice in thinking about the image per se? What would happen if instead of limiting ourselves to identifying queerness in the creator of the image and / or  its content, we start looking for queerness in the image itself – its construction, form, modes of circulation, social functioning?

If we were to provide a notion of a society of images, one possessing its own hierarchies, customs and rules, which images would occupy the position of non-normative images, of weak, subaltern, excluded, poor images? Can queer theory – a political and revolutionary theory per se (even if the means of revolution are not only pride, but also shame; not only joy, but also sadness; sleep, as well as riot, boredom as well as excitement) – which has over the years redefined such basic cultural categories as time, space, the archive, affect, and style, tell us anything new about the theory of the image and (counter)visuality? What do queer images look like? How do images reproduce outside of the hetero-matrix? What assemblages can anti-social images form? What do
queer images want and what kind of desires to they arouse in us? Are some genres more queer than others? What color do they have? What does the geographical map of queer images look like?

In this fifth issue of the journal “View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture,” we invite contributions about queer images and images of queers. We’re looking forward to reading articles, which criticize normative images of non-normative identities, but also those which look for queerness in normativity; articles about images fighting for emancipation, but also about those bashful and introvert ones; texts about images created as a result of deep intellectual engagement with queer theory, but also about campy images, brought into being by pure accident.

Deadline for articles: January 20, 2014.

For editorial and technical requirements, go to:
http://widok.ibl.waw.pl/index.php/one/about/submissions.

In case of questions, email:
szczesniak.magda@gmail.comredakcja@widok.ibl.waw.pl

Reference / Quellennachweis:
CFP: Queer Images. In: H-ArtHist, Oct 15, 2013.
<http://arthist.net/archive/6168>.