[UPDATE] Civil Rights Discourse in Post-Stonewall LGBTQ Texts (NeMLA 2014, Deadline for Abstracts: September 30, 2013)

full name / name of organization: 
Laura Westengard

Northeast Modern Language Association 2014 Convention
April 3-6, 2014
Harrisburg, PA

Deadline for abstracts: September 30th, 2013

In the years following Stonewall, discourse around LGBTQ rights has often involved a discussion of the black civil rights movement. As a model for non-violent activist practices, as a "success" story, and most recently, as an analogy circulating within marriage equality debates, the black civil rights movement has functioned as a powerful signifier in LGBTQ activism. David Eng observes that same-sex marriage advocates "insistently compare current public resistance to same-sex marriage in terms of 'outdated' anti-miscegenation laws" ("Freedom and the Racialization of Intimacy" 48). The use of "like-race" arguments, while politically pragmatic, can be problematic since this historicist narrative configures racial liberation as a "completed project" and "forecloses the possibility of reading homosexuality and race as intersectional" (Eng 49). This subject is particularly relevant as the issue of marriage equality has reached the Supreme Court and as we approach the anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, one of the major successes of the civil rights movement.

This panel seeks to examine the way post-Stonewall LGBTQ cultural productions work both within and against civil rights discourse and "like race" analogies. How have the successes and failures of the black civil rights movement informed contemporary LGBTQ texts? How can texts acknowledge and complicate intersections and divergences between identity-based movements? To what degree does the notion of identity itself contribute to reductive approaches to complex social issues? How can LGBTQ cultural producers respond productively to the conflicting demands of pragmatic and revolutionary politics? Papers addressing a variety of genres and media, including fiction, poetry, drama, performance art, visual art, film, and television are welcome.

Send 250 word abstracts and a brief CV by September 30, 2013 to Laura Westengard, lwestengard@citytech.cuny.edu