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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Arts and Humanities II - Department of English and American Studies

Queer Again? Power, Politics and Ethics

International Conference of the Department of English and American Studies and the
Research Training Group “Gender as a Category of Knowledge”

The concept of queer is volatile and, at times, difficult to grasp. As a result, we need a continuous review of the fields and directions of Queer Studies (as for instance, in the Social Text issue of 2005 with the programmatic title What’s Queer About Queer Studies Now?). In recent debates the ethical impetus of queer criticism has been confronted and challenged by the dominance of the so-called antisocial thesis. In his 2004 study No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive Lee Edelman manoeuvred queer theory into a kind of aporia and thus deep crisis that persists to this day. Subscription to an ‘ethics of futility,’ as Edelman suggests, signals that the borders of ethical thinking have been reached. This prevalence of the antisocial thesis in its different manifestations reveals a pressing need to reflect anew the relationship between queer, theory, art, ethics and politics.

Taking this as a starting point for the conference, we want to take up the iterative moment that seems inherent to the concept of queer: queer is regularly in a state of crisis that needs to be made productive, and in this way it can be continuously reworked and reshaped. We want to open a space to further the debate about sexuality and gender and their multiple interwoven connections in fields of power in contemporary contexts. Consequently, the following questions will be at the centre of attention: How can queer theory be situated in current academic and activist spheres? What does the focus on interdependent relationships (of sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, (dis)ability etc.) mean for the formation of a queer ethics? How can we rethink concepts of temporality and generation or community? And what does queer mean in different geographical and temporal contexts?

The panels will be organised along two thematic strands. The first, Affect, Space and Temporality, is concerned with the ethical and political potential of queer and the different political conceptions of queer that arise as a result. The second strand, Limits and Boundary Crossings, takes up current theoretical debates with regard to boundaries and crossings of these boundaries. Which limits and/or transgressions of these limits occur when different theoretical fields collide (e.g. queer theory and transgender theory or postcolonial theory or crip theory/disability studies)? In addition, we want to critically examine the limitations of queer and the concurrent inclusions and exclusions with regard to privileges that queer produces in specific contexts and that demand new critical/queer interventions.

 

Keynote speakers include

Jeffrey Jerome Cohen,

Roderick Ferguson,

Judith Halberstam,

José Esteban Muñoz

and Susan Stryker.

 

 

Organisation:

Eveline Kilian     Maja Figge Vojin Saša Vukadinovic
Jens Borcherding     Elahe Haschemi Yekani  
Adrian De Silva     Beatrice Michaelis  


Final programme

DOWNLOAD PROGRAMME (PDF)

ABSTRACTS (PDF)