University of California, Davis
Date: Friday, May 14
Keynote Speaker: Mel Chen, Assistant Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies, UC Berkeley
Mel Chen’s research interests include queer and feminist theory, critical linguistics, contagion and contamination, critical animal studies, and the cultural politics of race, sexuality, ability, and immigration.
While the theme “queer privates” certainly invites theoretical considerations of the body and embodied practices, this symposium aims to situate discussions of private parts and intimate acts in relation to liberal discourses of privacy and neoliberal processes of privatization. Recent queer scholarship has criticized the tendency for racially and economically privileged lesbian and gay activists to argue for the “right to privacy” in order to gain access to marriage, the military, and health care. Calls for institutional inclusion often demand public recognition of a privatized lesbian and gay identity that further marginalizes queers who cannot or will not conform to the expectations of homonormativity. Queer scholarship has also interrogated the steady dismantling of the welfare state and the increased privatization of public education, the prison-industrial complex, and practices of war and empire. These processes unevenly affect queers of color, working-class queers, queers with disabilities, gender-nonconforming queers, and other queer and trans subjects. In addition to investigating the ways in which discourses of individual privacy work in synchrony with trans/national processes of privatization, this symposium seeks to not simply diagnose the differences but also to understand the convergences between homonormative investments in the imagined private sphere and queer calls for public culture and public accountability. By exploring the multiple iterations of “queer privates” that operate on personal and collective levels, this symposium aims to open up possibilities for imagining other forms of desiring, belonging, and organizing.
For whom is privacy a privilege? How can queer scholarship think critically about the desirability of privacy? What are the limits of activist projects that strategically call for privacy rights? In what ways do notions of privacy depend upon liberal discourses of individualism? How might a consideration of the permeability of bodies allow for a reconceptualization of personhood and privacy? In what ways might a queering of domesticity trouble homonormative conceptions of the private sphere? How can we reimagine queer public culture beyond pride parades and wedding celebrations? What is the relationship between nationalist discourses of respectability and the relegation of certain intimacies to the realm of the private? How has the commodification of queerness led to the professionalization of lesbian and gay politics? In what ways have queer and trans communities responded to the privatization of social services? Which bodies benefit from encounters with medical and scientific technologies, and which bodies are susceptible to medical and state surveillance technologies? How might queer and trans studies critique transnational economies and environmental racism? What strategies have queer and trans people devised for negotiating privatized systems of crime prevention and immigration control? How does the privatization of public education endanger the place of queer, trans, and ethnic studies within the academy while simultaneously excluding those who cannot afford the high cost of tuition?
We invite scholarship from a broad range of disciplines, especially interdisciplinary work in queer theory and trans theory. We especially encourage theoretical work and empirically-informed investigations that critically engages mutually constitutive articulations of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, structures of class, religion and nationality, and hierarchies of dis/ability. We also welcome papers engaging activism and community organizing.
Possible topics include (but are not limited to):
- Body parts, bodily schemas, embodied lives
- Affective economies of love, hate, intimacy, shame, etc.
- Queer privates in memoirs, journals and other narratives
- Medical technologies as coercive and/or transformative
- Cyberprivacy and digital bodies
- Queer parenting and the erotics of domesticity
- Literary and artistic queerings of the private sphere
- Children as private property, the child as public figure
- Contagion, contamination, and queer bodies / ecologies
- Legal discourses of privacy
- Private parts in/of public performance
- Ethnographies of privacy, privates, and privatization
- Citizenship, the private sphere, and national belonging
- Temporalities of the private and privatization
- Queer effects of privatized education and social services
- Surveillance technologies and the “invasion” of privacy
- Political responses to criminalization and incarceration
- Privatization of immigration control and homeland security
Please send a 500-word abstract and a one-page CV to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 1, 2010. Along with this abstract, please indicate if your presentation requires any A/V equipment. Acceptances will be sent out by March 15, 2010.
For more information, please contact the symposium co-chairs, Tristan Josephson and Liz Montegary, at email@example.com.