[CFP] Powerful and Dangerous: Audre Lorde's Legacy Today - Aug 7 deadline

full name / name of organization: 
Lana Lin/Society for Cinema and Media Studies
contact email: 

The siting of the 2016 SCMS conference in Atlanta (3/30-4/3/16), where the Audre Lorde papers are housed at Spelman College, provides an ideal opportunity to convene a panel that addresses Lorde's investment in the intersections of race, gender, class, ability, age, and power. This panel seeks scholars, media makers, activists, and educators who have made use of the Audre Lorde archive, both at Spelman and at large, to examine the impact of the Black lesbian feminist poet's ideas on the contemporary moment.

Lorde's legacy continues to resonate amongst those who suffer the indignities and injuries of racism, classism, ableism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. She advocated a warrior spirit that finds its manifestation in the fierce defiance of Bree Newsome, the activist/filmmaker who took down the Confederate flag in front of the South Carolina Statehouse. Her words are echoed in transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox's statement on behalf of her trans sister Cece McDonald who served nineteen months in prison for defending herself with deadly force against an attacker. Lorde's refrain: "we were never meant to survive." Cox's plaint: "Transwomen of color are not supposed to survive." From radical feminist to mainstream media, Lorde's brand of wisdom on the body politics of race, gender, and disability is as celebrated as it is still cause for consternation. Fuel for controversy, her strident rhetoric presumes a category of "woman" that three decades later has become increasingly complicated. Lorde's instruction to leverage difference as the source of a productive power and danger serves as a cautionary note to those who believe that a sheen of unity glosses over the painful spikes of difference. If we take our lessons from Lorde, it is only through pain and struggle that those of us who were "never meant to survive" can survive at all.

Possible topics:
- Lorde as inspiration for activism including #BlackLivesMatter and Audre Lorde Project (center for gender variant people of color)

- How Lorde has influenced critical discourses including feminism, queer theory, critical race studies, performance studies, and disability studies.

- The history and present of the Lorde papers at Spelman College and The Lesbian Herstory Archives, Brooklyn.

- Lorde as a cinematic figure in films such as A Litany for Survival by Michelle Parkerson and Ada Gay Griffin, The Berlin Years–1984 to 1992 by Dagmar Schultz, The Body of a Poet: A Tribute to Audre Lorde by Sonali Fernando, and The Edge of Each Other's Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde by Jennifer Abod.

- The intertwining of the personal and political in acts of civil disobedience, scholarship, and cultural production.

- What kind of traction the erotic might have in a politics of transformation. How might Lorde be read with and against other theorists of queer embodiment and affect, such as Gilles Deleuze, Kathryn Bond Stockton, José Esteban Muñoz?

Please send abstracts of approximately 300 words with bio and 3-5 references by Aug 7 to lclin10003@yahoo.com. Notifications will be sent out by Aug 14. Prospective panelists are welcome to email with any questions. http://www.cmstudies.org/?page=call_for_submissions