UPDATE: Indiscretions: At the Intersection of Postcolonial and Queer Theory (5/1/05; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Aydemir, M.
contact email: 

Deadline extended:

Call for Papers

Editor: Murat Aydemir
Book Series: Thamyris/Intersecting: Place, Sex, and 'Race'
Publisher: Rodopi (Amsterdam/New York)
Series Editor: Ernst van Alphen
Deadline for Proposals: May 1, 2005

Ross Chambers' analysis of the gay sexual "tourism" of Roland Barthes,
both abroad and at home, stands as a challenge to those assuming that
the epistemological and political projects of queer theory and
postcolonialism are self-evidently governed by the same spirit, or
garner similar effects (Loiterature, 1999, 250-69). According to
Chambers, Barthes' anti-narratives of cruising, whether set in the
commercial district of Saint-Germain-de-Pr=E8s in Paris or in Morocco,
studiously "forget" the (post)colonial context that makes young Maghrebi
men available for the writer's melancholic and desirous scrutiny. The
dreary and hapless cruising detailed in "Soir=E9es de Paris" furnishes
an ongoing story that has no point, that remains pointless; the generous
Moroccan sexuality of "Incidents" delivers a series of pointed details
without a story. (Both texts are part of the posthumously published
collection Incidents, 1992.) The establishment of the urban everyday in
the former text and of the exotic in the latter, Chambers argues, are
both conditional on the foreclosure of the (post)colonial from bearing
on the practices and expressions of gay male desire. Thus, Barthes'
cruising in Paris and Morocco, Chambers concludes, requires "the double
forgetting of the colonial." (258)

Chambers' analysis may be limited in that it concerns a specific (and
perhaps specifically gay male) practice. But Chambers' reading can also
be taken as exemplary in that it foregrounds a set of urgent questions.
Does the study of queerness, lesbian, gay, or other, implicitly mandate
not getting the (post)colonial point? Conversely, does (post)colonial
expertise require one to miss the queer point? And, how can the two be
productively and relevantly be recombined? Indiscretions: At the
Intersection of Postcolonial and Queer Theory proposes to take to task
both theoretical discourses in relation to each other, bearing in mind
that that relationship may be intimate, mirroring, conflict-ridden,
and/or mutually exclusive. As Chambers asks, "What
incidences-interactions, intersections, intrications, mutual
interruptions-join them?" (251)

Such questions are especially pressing now that the exoticizing erotics
that Barthes exemplifies seem largely superseded by the new islamophobia
and racism of Europe (and The Netherlands in particular) that legitimize
themselves precisely by citing the attitudes towards (homo-)sexuality of
Islamic immigrants. At the same time, the institutionalization of queer
theory and postcolonialism as separate areas of specialization has
hampered academics in intervening intellectually and activistically in
today's heady concatenation of sexual and cultural issues. The
simultaneity of these developments forces a re-evaluation of the
pitfalls and possibilities of postcolonial and queer politics in
relation to each other.

With its social as well as semiotic connotations, the titular notion of
"indiscretions" may serve as a productive pointer to access and organize
the discussion. Also, it invites contributors to be less than discreet
with their employment of the two bodies of theory at issue, intersecting
the one with the other. Indiscretions advocates the close analysis of
instances and aspects of culture in which
-- discretionary power, the social authority to tell the difference,
renders discrete cultural and sexual identities, as well as in which
this power is haunted or enchanted by a potential for density, for
indiscretion, that eludes it;
-- cultural and sexual identities and practices become discrete or
indiscrete in relation to each other;
-- postcolonial and queer theory can grasp, render discreet and legible,
aspects of cultural and artistic texts, as well as of instances and
aspects in which they fail to do so;
-- postcolonial and queer theory can render discrete and/or indiscrete
aspects of each other.

Proposals for contributions to Indiscretions: At the Intersection of
Postcolonial and Queer Theory may be submitted by email
(m.aydemir_at_uva.nl <mailto:m.aydemir_at_uva.nl>) before April 1, 2005.
Include the proposal (600 words) in the body of the message. Use
"Indiscretions" as the subject line. Please include a short c.v. The
deadline for the finished articles (6,000-8,000 words) is September 1,
2005. All acceptances are conditional on the approval of the series
editor. For more information on the Thamyris/Intersecting series, refer
to www.rodopi.nl/senj.asp?SerieID=3DTHAMYRIS

Murat Aydemir
Universiteit van Amsterdam
Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Literatuurwetenschap
Spuistraat 210 (kamer 345)
1012 VT Amsterdam
Tel: (31) (20) 525 3882
Fax: (31) (20) 525 3021

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Received on Thu Mar 24 2005 - 08:56:59 EST

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