"Going to the Chapel: Dramaturgy, Ceremony, and Dreams of a Queer Wedding" (10/17/13; ATHE, Scottsdale, AZ, 24-27 July 2014)

full name / name of organization: 
Jill Stevenson/Association for Theatre in Higher Education
contact email: 

"Going to the Chapel: Dramaturgy, Ceremony, and Dreams of a Queer Wedding"
Session for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education's 2014 Conference
July 24th-27th, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ

In The Trouble With Normal, written well before the many recent legal victories for the pro-gay marriage movement, Michael Warner warns that gay marriage was predicated on a dichotomy between the "Good Gay" and the "Bad Queer." In a similar vein, Charles Ludlam contends: "Our homosexuality gives us a certain view of the world. All our lives we're taught that certain institutions are sacred—marriage, childrearing, the family unit—primarily those institutions we rejected. Once we've thrown that out, it's very hard to behave in a serious manner and make these things terribly important to ourselves. They can never be meaningful to us in that way." In the post-DOMA world of homoliberalism and homonormativity in which gay citizenship is often premised upon the institution of marriage, can one dream of a queer wedding? For this panel, we're interested in how the "sacred" dramaturgy of a wedding ceremony can be used/manipulated/queered/etc. to construct notions of a gay/queer marriage, especially with respect to traditional religious, ritual, and ceremonial elements. How can the wedding ceremonies marking marriage be used to trouble the "good gay/bad queer" dichotomy? Can a bad queer use ceremony and dramaturgy to marry and still remain a bad queer? Can the ceremony of weddings be used to reject traditional marriage? Can one dream of going to the chapel without giving into homoliberalism? Can dramaturgy help us dream of a meaningful queer wedding ceremony? Papers that explore this topic from any geographic, cultural, or theoretical perspective are welcome.

Please send a one-page abstract and brief bio to Ken Nielsen (kenn@princeton.edu) and Jill Stevenson (jillstevenson@gmail.com) by October 17th. Feel free to email the organizers with questions. For information about ATHE and the 2014 conference, please visit: http://www.athe.org/