Rated Queer. Deconstructing Narratives of Age

full name / name of organization: 
Linda Hess, Nina Holst, Anika Ullmann / Goethe University, Frankfurt
contact email: 

Rated Queer Deconstructing Narratives of Age
Workshop - April/05 & 06/2013 - Frankfurt/Main

Those who are too old and those who are too young are often excluded from academic discourses on subjectivity. The subject appears to be ageless, but implicitly is always of- age and not yet retired. When, for instance, Gender Studies question the heteronormativity of a social practice, they (often) omit that their analyses concentrate on a specific age group. Recently, Queer Studies have begun to question this omission, in order to bring the relationship the subject has with to its own (life)time into focus. In his study Queer Temporalities in Gay Male Representation (2010), Dustin Bradley Goltz makes use of the concept of straight time "which adopts a linear – and so literally – 'straight' – approach to time, [and] defines a temporal trajectory through heteronormative progression that relies upon the assumed naturalness, correctness, and inevitability of heteronormative time orientation. Central to the logics of straight time are cultural understandings of childhood, adulthood, marriage, procreation, and productive citizenship, which work to define and cultivate limited and linear engagements with time" (Goltz 117). Along this linearity, age has been split into child- and adulthood.

To avoid this dichotomous view of age, we propose to follow Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's way of thinking about sexuality as a continuum. Thus, age manifests itself (in connection with several other categories) in privileged and deprivileged positions along a spectrum, and not as essential identities. To that, we add what Lee Edelman says about politics in No Future (2004): "[i]t centers, [...] on the figurality that is always essential to identity, and thus on the figural relations in which social identities are always inscribed." (Edelman 17). We understand age as part of that figurality. The interaction of queer adults, queer children, "adults" and "children" forms a complex network of figural relations, in which the components continuously produce and limit each other.

Therefore, rather than searching for a unifying theory of age, we are interested in contributions that look at queer/queering potential in narratives (for example in fiction, film & television) in which age plays a defining role in a character's ability to act/see/know.

Abstracts (200-300 words in English, deadline Dec/20/2012) might include queer readings of, but are not limited to, the following topics:

• representations of childhood and (old) age in art, fiction, film and television
• the child as a social construct & social expectations of a society's elders
• legal status of childhood and age
• constructions of timelines & subjectivity
• age/childhood: continuum vs. dichotomy / narratives vs. identities
• perception, self-perception, and surveillance

Please send an e-mail with your abstract to the three organisers:
- Linda Hess, linn_h@web.de
- Nina Holst, holst@em.uni-frankfurt.de
- Anika Ullmann, anika.ullmann@gmx.de

Upon reception, you will get a confirmation e-mail within twenty-four hours. If you don't receive an e-mail, please resend your abstract. We will make our decision by the end of January.
More information will be made available at http://tinyurl.com/ratedqueer.