What do we talk about when we talk about queer death? Call for short contributions (Whatever Journal, issue 4))
Whatever. A Transdisciplinary Journal of Queer Theories and Studies (https://whatever.cirque.unipi.it/) is inviting submissions for short contributions (500-2000 words) to be collected in a multi-authored article entitled “What do we talk about when we talk about queer death?”. The article will introduce the themed section Queer thanatologies (edited by A.C. Corradino, C. Dell’Aversano, R. Langhi and M. Petricola) that will appear in Whatever’s next issue in summer 2021.
Queer death studies has recently emerged as a transdisciplinary field of inquiry investigating the cultural performances related to death, dying, grief, and disposal from the perspective of queer theory, defined as a hermeneutical stance whose premises could be summed up as follows: «queer states that any construction of identity (including LGBT ones) is a performance constituting a subject which does not “exist” prior to it, and encourages to bring into being (both as objects of desire, of fantasy and of theoretical reflection and as concrete existential and political possibilities) alternative modes of performance» (Dell’Aversano 2010: 74-75). Driven by the will to «reconceptualis[e] death, dying and mourning in relentlessly norm-critical ways» (Radomska, Mehrabi, and Lykke 2020: 82), the field of queer death studies is developing and expanding in a number of directions. Some center on an «overall attention to necropolitics and necropowers» (ibidem: 85); some focus on peripheral, non-normative, and anti-normative identities, among which are those falling within the LGBT+ spectrum; some devote to non-humans as both subjects and objects of grief; some explore the construction of corpses as objects of desire in literature and the arts, as well as their position in spiritual and other kinds of political activism; some are grounded in category theory and the social sciences and aimed at the theoretical deconstruction of the life/death polarity itself, considered as one of the most fundamental constructs for the development of every human culture; some critically-affirmatively take a posthuman and/or decolonial point of departure in life/death, considered as a spiritual-material continuum, encouraging an ecophilosophical focus on the vibrancies of all non/living matter beyond the dualisms (mind-soul/body, culture/nature, human/non-human), cherished by Western modernity.
We encourage scholars, activists, thanatologists, and other queer death friends working in any field to contribute to the ongoing development of queer death studies by answering the question “what do we talk about when we talk about queer death?” in a bite-sized format. Your theoretical reflections, case studies, notes, and thoughts are invaluable for mapping this ever-expanding field.
Short contributions should be sent to Mattia Petricola (firstname.lastname@example.org) by January 15, 2021. For any question or information, for expressing your interest in this publication or discussing your contribution, do not hesitate to get in touch.
Dell’Aversano, Carmen. 2010. ‘The Love Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken: Queering the Human-Animal Bond’. Journal for Critical Animal Studies VIII (1/2): 73–125.
Radomska, Marietta, Tara Mehrabi, and Nina Lykke. 2020. ‘Queer Death Studies: Death, Dying and Mourning from a Queerfeminist Perspective’. Australian Feminist Studies 35 (104): 81–100.