Queer Surveillance

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Surveillance and Society
contact email: 

Call for Papers: Queer Surveillance

Special Issue of Surveillance & Society

Edited by Gary Kafer and Daniel Grinberg

Submission deadline: December 1, 2018 for publication September 2019.

This special issue calls for an encounter between queer studies and surveillance studies to reconsider the stakes of queerness in relation to vectors of monitoring, control, and intimacy. Our conception of queer surveillance aims to expand upon the ways in which assemblages of affects, behaviors, and bodies are made either legible or non-normative within dominant social systems on local, national, and transnational scales. By interrogating the conjunctures of queerness and surveillance, this issue seeks to deepen understanding of the classificatory processes that register some bodies as overly opaque and dangerous and others as sufficiently transparent and secure. At the same time, we ask how queerness and surveillance can be co-constitutive and mutually reinforcing in order to more fully recognize where their shifting logics conflict or align within nationalist and colonial paradigms.

Our conception of queer in queer surveillance is neither identitarian (the surveillance of stable LGBTQ+ identities) nor anti-identitarian (queerness as resistant to the identities that surveillance systems construct). Rather, this issue seeks to explore the queer relationships that we might develop with the rubrics that surveillance technologies impose upon bodies through categories of race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, religion, and citizenship. What is queer here is not simply the matrix of identities falling under the rubric of LGBTQ+. Advancing from previous scholarship on queer surveillance, we consider the ways in which queerness gestures towards the spatial and temporal contingency of identity formations that hegemonic structures of visibility, acceptability, and legality continually make and unmake.1 We take note from Jasbir Puar’s assertion that the “assemblage” of queerness isn’t simply the opposition between queer and non-queer subjects or a praxis of resistant alterity, but is produced through the enmeshing of bodies, affects, and technologies across the normative territories that social categorizations shape.2

Building on recent work on feminism and race in surveillance studies, this issue will also move beyond narrow questions of privacy and fixed identities into more capacious concepts of privilege, risk, and access.3 Key here is the conceit that surveillance is yoked to structural inequalities and systems of oppression wherein biased surveillance systems marginalize and dehumanize communities. As such, we might say that surveillance systems do not operate through predetermined identities, but rather politicize their production, distribution, and performance. Consider, for example, more recent scholarship that demonstrates how racial, gender, and class politics impact trans communities’ abilities to traverse security checkpoints, obtain access to medical care, or navigate bureaucratic challenges of identification.4 Gender here becomes a politicized site of negotiation normalized through its citational effects on bodies within affective economies of fear, suspicion, and risk.

For this special issue, we invite scholarship that attends to the corporeal, technological, and affective impacts of queer surveillance in both its historical and contemporary iterations. Likewise, we are interested in mapping local and global scales of such operations. Specifically, we ask how queerness is historically and culturally contingent and how the standards of the normative and perverse vary across legal and sociopolitical contexts. Concurrently, we ask how queerness can reorient the concentrations of surveillance, as well as the affinities and attunements that emerge from such counteractive positions. In addition, this issue will outline the ever-shifting contours of queer surveillance as it is being enacted and as it radically reshapes the configurations of visibility, desirability, and identification.

Possible research areas within queer surveillance studies might include (but are not limited to):

● Queering surveillance theory

● Histories and archives of queer surveillance

● Global practices of monitoring sexual identity, gender, and race

● Counter-surveillance and sousveillance tactics

● Policing of intimacy and sexual practices

● Healthcare in queer communities

● Identity formation in self-surveillance and peer surveillance

● Queer dynamics of digital surveillance (algorithms, networking apps, social media)

● The politics of visibility/invisibility and opacity/transparency

● Biopolitics, corporealities, and affect

● Normativity and abnormality

● Queerness and the carceral state


Submission Information:

We welcome full academic papers, opinion pieces, review pieces, poetry, artistic, and audiovisual submissions. Submissions will undergo a peer-review and revision process prior to publication. Submissions should be original work, neither previously published nor under consideration for publication elsewhere. All references to previous work by contributors should be masked in the text (e.g., “Author 2015”).

All papers must be submitted through the online submission system no later than December 1, 2018, for publication in September 2019. (When submitting, please indicate in the notes box that the paper is for the special issue on Queer Surveillance.)

Please submit the papers in a MS Word-compatible format. For further submission guidelines, please see: https://ojs.library.queensu.ca/index.php/surveillance-and-society/about/...

For all inquiries regarding the issue, please contact the editors: Gary Kafer <gkafer@uchicago.edu> and Daniel Grinberg <dgrinberg@umail.ucsb.edu>.

For weblink to CfP: https://ojs.library.queensu.ca/index.php/surveillance-and-society/announ...

1 See David Phillips, “Negotiating the Digital Closet: Online Pseudonyms and the Politics of Sexual Identity,” Information, Communication, and Society 5.3 (2002): 406-424; David Phillips and Carol Cunningham, “Queering Surveillance Research” in Queer Online: Media Technology and Sexuality, ed. Kate O’Riordan and David J. Phillips (New York: Peter Lang, 2007), 31-44; Kathryn Conrad, “‘Nothing to Hide… Nothing to Fear’: Discriminatory Surveillance and Queer Visibility in Great Britain and Northern Ireland” in The Ashgate Research Companion to Queer Theory, eds. Noreen Giffney and Michael O’Rourke (Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2009), 329-346.

2 Jasbir Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 2007).

3 Rachel Dubrofsky and Shoshana Magnet, eds. Feminist Surveillance Studies (Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 2015); Emily van der Meulen and Robert Heynen, eds. Expanding the Gaze: Gender and the Politics of Surveillance (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016). Simone Browne, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness (Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 2015).

4 Shoshana Magnet and Tara Rodgers, “Stripping for the State: Whole Body Imaging Technologies and the Surveillance of Othered Bodies,” Feminist Media Studies 12.1 (2012): 101-118; Toby Beauchamp, “Artful Concealment and Strategic Visibility: Transgender Bodies and U.S. State Surveillance After 9/11,” Surveillance & Society 6.4 (2009): 356-366; Lisa Jean Moore and Paisley Currah, “Legally Sexed: Birth Certificates and Transgender Citizens” in Feminist Surveillance Studies, edited by Rachel E. Dubrofsky and Shoshanna A. Magnet (Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 2015), 58-76.