Queer Pragmatics (ACLA 2021)

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Adam Sax and Davy Knittle, University of Pennsylvania
contact email: 

In Cruising Utopia, José Esteban Muñoz argues that “Queerness is essentially about the rejection of a here and now and an insistence on potentiality or concrete possibility for another world.” For Muñoz, the future becomes the domain of the queer, the time and place where queerness can thrive. However, scholars often overlook the “now” in queer theory, an urgent, revolutionary now akin to what Walter Benjamin calls the “Jetztzeit.”

In this seminar, we address the present as a convergence of temporalities, and as a crucial focus for queer critique. We explore what Katherine McKittrick calls “the material world” that is situated in a present “infused with sensations and distinct ways of knowing.” To this end, we seek papers that speak to the toolkit queer studies offers for describing what Carolyn Dinshaw calls the possibility of “a fuller, denser, more crowded now.”

We welcome contributions that explore, among other topics, queer critique’s encounter with ecocriticism and representations of climate change, with material culture studies, and with experiences of migration and displacement. The urgency of these questions rests in queer critique’s potential for describing uneven experiences of precarity in dialogue with non-normative sexualities and genders, and in reaching outside the body and the subject, toward the situated experiences of the collective that are rendered pragmatic by large-scale social, political, and environmental shifts.

To propose a paper to the seminar, please visit the ACLA 2021 website (https://www.acla.org/annual-meeting) between October 1st and October 31st. Please feel free to get in touch with us directly if you have questions about a potential paper, or about other topics likely to be covered in the seminar.