Dissident Citizenship: Queer Postcolonial Belonging June 10-11, 2010, University of Sussex, Brighton UK
The theoretical conjunction between queer and postcolonial studies emerging over the past fifteen years has produced work on identities and political movements as well as interrogating the history of non-heteronormative gender and sexuality in postcolonial contexts. Dissident Citizenship will bring scholars working at this nexus together at a time when postcolonial nations are taking divergent turns in their relationship to sexual dissidence (gender and sexuality), some with a focus on religious, 'normative' restrictions and others turning towards various forms of legal inclusion. Both turns have relationships to the politics of former colonisers, but are also the product of the way independent nations have been structured as secular or theocratic, as well as the way their postcolonial nationhood has been 'imagined'. Queer theory has been accused of irrelevance in certain western metropolitan corners as well as postcolonial contexts, and yet its potential seems under-exploited in the context of queer postcolonial subjectivity, where a 'nation-centred view of sovereign citizenship can only comprehend the predicament of minoritarian 'belonging' as a problem of ontology - a question of belonging to a race, a gender, a class, a generation [and one might add, a sexuality] becomes...a naturalization of the problems of citizenship' (Bhabha, 2004).
In order to explore the multiple strands of political, social and cultural contexts that produce and impact on sexuality in the postcolonial nation, we invite papers from scholars working on legal and citizenship discourses, social sciences such as anthropology and sociology, and humanities, particularly literature, film and media, as well as those working in relevant critical theory.
Working with the concept of queer postcolonial citizenship, the intention is to impact both fields. Postcolonial studies has until recently mainly assumed 'universal' norms of gender and sexuality, which this conference seeks to disrupt in a productive way for further work. We acknowledge this has perhaps been as a guard against orientalism, but consider that the deconstructive tools of queer and postcolonial may in working together explore the effects of this to form a challenging reconceptualisation of pleasure. We also seek to impact studies of sexual dissidence and queer theory, which have tended to take their theoretical approaches from within a privileged metropolitan western political framework that can sometimes be applied intrusively or insensitively in the postcolonial context. How might queer theories be re-worked in non-western historical contexts and through postcolonial conceptualisations of past and self? What potential risks are there in bringing the conceptual frameworks together and what sort of limits (if any) might be necessary?
We would like to invite papers on relevant themes as outlined by but not limited to those below, and particularly, those exploring frameworks that might advance a local understanding of queer in the postcolonial context. We welcome critically creative and activist work.
- Diaspora/Transnational Spaces
- Queering Geographies/Spaces
- Postcolonial Race/Ethnicity
- Canonical Traditions in Postcolonial and Queer Theory
- Law, Sexuality and Postcolonial Subjectivity
- Postcolonial/Queer Literature(s), Film and Media(s)
- Comparative Models of Queer Postcolonial Belonging
- HIV/AIDS and postcolonial citizenship: Monstrous bodies and effeminised 'victims'
- Sex Work/Sexual Economies (inc. Sex Tourism and Pornography)
- Hetero/Homo-Normative Citizenship Discourses
- Queering the Postcolonial Nation
Dissident Citizenship is hosted by the Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence with the support of the Centre for Colonial & Postcolonial Studies.
Please send 350 word abstracts and a short biography in an attachment by return of email to:
Dr Shamira A. Meghani
Deadline for abstracts: 31st December 2009
Please feel free to forward to interested parties.