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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.

A public lecture by Prof Jack Halberstam:

Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender and the End of Normal

August 21st 18:00-20:00
Graduate Seminar Room, Southwest Engineering, East Campus

 
Book cover for "Gaga Feminism" by Jack Halberstam of USC Dornsife

“My book Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) made
the claim that the “existing conditions” under which the building blocks of human identity
were imagined and cemented in the last century—what we call gender, sex, race and
class—have changed so radically that new life can be glimpsed ahead. Our task is […] as
Nietzsche suggests … to impose upon the categorical chaos and crisis that surrounds us
only “as much regularity and form as our practical needs require.” The goal here is to
learn how to read contemporary shifts in the meaning of sexuality and gender as
indicative of other shifts and changes in the culture at large.”

Jack Halberstam is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender
Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California.
Halberstam’s most prolific publications include Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and
the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP,
1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure
(Duke UP, 2011) and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal
(Beacon Press, 2012).

Beyond Barbie

“Or, more importantly, if in the past two years FEMEN had not taken such a colonialist and even seriously racist turn, alienating many who might otherwise sympathise with their attempt to reinvigorate ‘third wave’ feminism.

The truth is, many of FEMEN’s actions are funny, in a way. So is their website, among whose images is one of a FEMEN activist brandishing a bloodied sickle in one hand and a pair of testicles in the other. But usually I’m laughing in an ‘I-can’t-believe-their-politics-are-so-off-the-mark’ way. And increasingly, it has started to feel a bit like laughing as you slowly realise that you’re actually watching a train wreck.”

Where Looks Don’t Matter and Only the Best Writers Get Laid
How the feminist internet utopia failed, and we ended up with speculative realism

“The era of the text-based Internet in the ‘80s and ‘90s was a unique period of Turing-style, behind-the-curtain interaction1. Rather than proving to each other that they were humans, users of the developing system had fantasies of transcending their bodies altogether—something akin to the out-of-body mind-travel in Neuromancer. Passing written notes back and forth through the curtain of the screen, they could invent and reinvent their A/S/Ls.

Through this cyber-body freedom, cyberfeminists anticipated finally moving beyond gender. Multiple User Domains (MUDs), Bulletin Board Services (BBSs), Role Playing Games (RPGs) and various other interactive internet portals were to be populated by polymorphous men, women, transgendered animals, three-headed aliens, medieval warriors … identities with genders and sexualities of infinite type.”

Queer, Feminist and Social Media Praxis workshop
Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies
17 May 2013
University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.

Workshop programme now available: http://queerfemdigiact.wordpress.com/programme/ 

To register, please visit: http://queerfemdigiact.wordpress.com/registration/

In this workshop we will explore a range of themes around digital technology and social media in relation to gender/sexuality activism and social equality.

Workshop keynote speaker: Alex Juhasz (Pitzer, USA, Fembot Collective)

Closing plenary Radical art practices, feminism, new technologies and performance with : Maria Chatzichristodoulou (a.k.a. Maria X), Sally-Jane Norman (Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts), Kira O’Reilly, Kate O’Riordan (UCSC/Sussex), Joanna Zylinska (Goldsmiths).

There will be over 30 academic papers, workshops, film screenings and performances over the workshop day. We have also scheduled a queer film-screening of The Owls on the evening of the 16th of May, with producer Alex Juhasz present for a Q&A session.

The provisional programme will be coming out in the next few weeks.

The workshop is linked to the second annual conference of the International Feminist Journal of Politics, (Im)possibly Queer International Feminisms, between May 17-19, 2013. The Workshop is organised by the Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies, University of Sussex and partly supported by the EPSRC/CC+ Network Sustaining networked knowledge: expertise, feminist media production, art and activism.

The third meeting of the Wits Queer Theory Reading Group will take place on April 25th from 5pm to 6:30pm in the Graduate Center Seminar Room in the SW Engineering Building.

We will read and discuss Zakiyyah Iman Jackson’s article entitled “Waking Nightmares”, published in GLQ: A journal of gay and lesbian studies in 2005 [13(2-3), 357-363]. Haley, who chose the article, will give a brief introduction.

The article can be found HERE.

JGLS

(Sent by Mehita I.)

Call for Papers:

“All Hail the Queenz: A Queer Feminist Recalibration of Hip Hop Scholarship”

A Special Issue of Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory.

Issue Guest Editors: Shanté Paradigm Smalls (University of New Mexico) and Jessica N. Pabón (New York University)

Submission deadline: May 1, 2013

Women and Performance invites submissions for a special issue, “All Hail the Queenz: A Queer Feminist Recalibration of Hip Hop Scholarship.” The editors welcome scholarly articles and performative texts that foreground feminist and queer performance studies approaches to hip hop culture, consumption, and production.

Contemporary rap music, as a stand-in for hip hop culture and production, is virtually synonymous with misogyny and homophobia in the mainstream US and academic imaginary. We want to explore the range of understandings and theories that inform how women and queers experience hip hop culture and performance; this issue underscores the multiplicity of hip hop culture and rejects a myopic totalizing view of what “the culture” does and is. We seek to engage with the wide range of hip hop scholars and practitioners working at the intersections of various methodologies not always associated with scholarly considerations of hip hop (including psychoanalysis, feminist and queer theory, and performance theory), as well as methods typical to hip hop studies—sociology, Black studies, literature, history, musicology, and urban studies. An emerging class of hip hop scholars pressure the givens of race, gender, performance, sexuality, region, nationality, artistry, and iconography—as a culture that has been in a state of constant development for the past forty years, hip hop scholarship is more than due for a queer feminist remixing and reimagining.

As coeditors, we challenge the readers of Women & Performance to ask:
What would a specifically queer feminist performance studies approach to hip hop’s culture and production generate in terms of scholarship? How does a queer feminist experience and critique revise hip hop studies?
Why has performance studies had so little to say about hip hop, what interventions does performance studies yield? The issue’s focus on producing knowledge about hip hop culture that centralizes women, girls and queer people will include a range of elements, both popular and
subcultural: DJ culture, dance, graffiti, human beat boxing, rap music, as well as fashion, media and print, organizing, and other forms of knowledge production. No matter the genre, hip hop is often conceived and misrepresented as a male-dominated culture which casts women and girls as an addendum to hip hop rather than as primary producers, critics, and consumers. Within the pages of this issue, contributors revisit the centrality of feminist and queer artists to the production of all elements of hip hop culture and of feminist and queer critique to hip hop scholarship. “All Hail the Queenz” intends to tease out the nuanced negotiations women, girls, and queer people develop as hip hop artists, critics, and consumers participating within this climate.

Through re-centering feminist and queer critiques and female and queer performance, “All Hail the Queenz” recalibrates hip hop’s center. By recalibrating the center, contributors to this issue refashion hip hop historiography and hip hop aesthetics beyond the art of rapping by the cisgendered male body. In a kind of textual reperformance, this issue takes its title from Queen Latifah’s lyrical demands for respect on her first womanist rap classic album, “All Hail the Queen,” and reminds readers once again that “stereotypes, they got to go!”

Potential Topics:

* Alternate Hip Hop historiographies
* Artist Scholars
* DJing, technology, gender, sexuality
* Feminist, queer, trans* aesthetics
* Feminist, queer, trans* pedagogy
* Graffiti and gender/sexuality
* Hip Hop culture and dis/ability
* Hip Hop diasporas
* Hip Hop fashion
* Hip Hop feminism
* Hip Hop festivals
* Hip Hop’s hybridity
* Human Beatboxing
* Media culture and social networking
* Nation, Empire, and hip hop
* Queer feminist hip hop critique
* Queerness and/in/of hip hop
* Trans* in/and hip hop

Article submissions should be 6-8,000 words in length and adhere to the current Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), author-date format. Performative texts should be 2-3,000 words and in any style the author chooses (same CMS style as above if using citations). Photo essays are welcome.
Questions and abstracts for review are welcome before the final deadline.

Complete essays and texts for consideration must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST, May 1, 2013.

Please send all work to both Shanté Paradigm Smalls and Jessica N. Pabón via email (MSWord attachment): shantesmalls@gmail.comand jnp250@nyu.edu.

Further submission guidelines may be found at:
www.womenandperformance.org/submission.html. Women and Performance is a peer reviewed journal published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis.