Call for Papers: Bodies of Knowledge Symposium, USC, Apr. 9-11, 2018

Sep 30, 2017

CFP: Better World

Bodies of Knowledge Symposium, Spring 2018

The next Bodies of Knowledge Symposium will take place at USC Upstate on Apr 9-11, 2018, marking the ten-year anniversary of a cultural event originally conceptualized as a response to physical and rhetorical violence against LGBTQ+ people in the Upstate of South Carolina and, more broadly, the southeastern U.S. The hope in creating this event a decade ago was to change the conversation about queerness in this region and thereby to make a better world for LGBTQ+ people. In the current historical moment, this utopic critical and activist work remains urgent. Drawing loosely on the work of late queer theorist José Esteban Muñoz to critically reimagine queerness as the “not yet here,” conference organizers call for papers or panel proposals on building better worlds and imagining queer futures in truly trying times. We are especially interested in centering the work of queer people of color in these world-building projects. We are also interested in taking this opportunity to engage with a wide range of methodologies (both theoretical and practical) for advocacy, justice, and empowerment within the present.

Keynote speakers:

E. Patrick Johnson, Honeypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women

aime Cantrell, Out of the Closet, Into the Archive: Researching Sexual Histories

Marlanda Dekine, Speaking Down Barriers (change-maker and community dialogue artiste)

Ivy Hill, Gender Benders (trans, gender non-conforming, LGBT support group in SC)

The symposium will open with a screening of* Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church*, a documentary by Clay Cane addressing the intersection of religion, race, and queerness in Atlanta.

Proposal topics may include but are not limited to:
· LGBTQ+ exclusion from civil rights under the current U.S. administration: Given a clear statement by the current administration that civil rights do not include LGBTQ+ people and a related move to exclude trans people within the military, how must discussions of queer political work change? What does the future of queer political work look like, both within and outside the U.S. government?

· LGBTQ+ critical methodologies: What role do oral histories, ethnographies, archival research, or community dialogues play in preserving, creating, and celebrating the utopic moments happening now or in previous historical periods, moments in which LGBTQ+ people already made better worlds of various kinds?

· LGBTQ+ intersectionality: How might institutions dedicated to advocating for/with LGBTQ+ populations avoid engaging in racism, colonialism, xenophobia, classism, and ableism in the process? What work is being done by and for communities who are doubly disenfranchised through law and policies at local and federal levels due to their immigration status? In what ways might Undocuqueer serve as a model for responding to the recent repeal of DACA in ways that acknowledge the profound role played by the intersection of race and sexuality in the lives of undocumented immigrants? Who and where are the (literal and metaphorical) queer dreamers in this nightmare scenario?

· LGBTQ+ representations: How are new avenues of media production offering potential futures for queer representation, both in front of and behind the camera? What conversations do we need to be having about cultural representations of LGBTQ+ people amid the post-network, post-cable proliferation of media texts that include LGBTQ+ characters (e.g., TransParent, Orange is the New Black, Sense 8, Take My Wife)?

· LGBTQ+ archives: While looking towards a queer future is crucial, what can be learned from what Heather Love calls “feeling backwards?” What conversations do we need to be having about queer histories? How was queer history archived if it fell outside the concerns of institutions? How can archivists and historians preserve a queer future through attention to queer histories?

· LGBTQ+ social media: How has technology amplified or alleviated the tensions of being queer? Can apps like Grindr help connect certain members of the LGBTQ+ community, while alienating others? How do folks who identify as part of the “Tumblr queer” community interact with older generations of queers? What does queerness look like in the post-truth era of social media isolation?

· Papers are also encouraged on topics related to the keynote lectures, as well as direct responses to the scholarly works by these speakers

Please send 200-word abstracts to Dr. Lisa Johnson Johnson

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