Queer Sahara | Queer Sonora

deadline for submissions: 
October 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

Queer Sahara | Queer Sonora

A Panel at the 53rd Annual Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Convention

March 10-13, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland (although hybrid presentations are possible)

In this panel, we will consider shared connections across desert spaces in the queer imaginary, using the Sonoran Desert and the Sahara Desert as specific sites of comparison, reinvention, liberation, and self-definition. Rather than empty spaces or zones of death, these deserts and their vibrant ecosystems contain various well-established queer enclaves such as Palm Springs, California; Bisbee and Melrose (Phoenix), Arizona; and locales at the edge of the Sahara, such as Fes and Marrakesh, Morocco.

How have deserts—the Sonoran and Sahara Deserts in particular—and their environs become spaces of queer desire and fantasia? Can these fantasies become enabling fictions, and if so, do they operate through settler colonial logics? On the other hand, what anti-colonial queer spaces resist or exist outside of attempts to settle deserts within the Western imaginary? What queer Indigenous discourses emerge from deserts, especially those that point to notions of sexuality that are not founded upon settler colonial regimes of gender and exchange? How are ecopoetical reimaginings and environmental discourses, which seek to represent xeriscapes as more than loci for extraction or weaponization, interlinked with queer politics and queer time?

We invite papers that focus on either or both of the Sahara and Sonoran deserts, as well as papers discussing adjacent arid spaces such as the Great Basin, the Chihuahuan Desert, the Imperial Valley, the Somalian Desert, the Libyan Desert, and the Sahel. Although our primary focus is material dating from the 20th century and our contemporary moment, we welcome presentations from earlier periods.

The due date for abstract submissions is October 15, 2021. General guidelines for submitting to the conference and information about session types can be found at http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/callforpapers.html.

Submit your abstract of 300 words or fewer here: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/19589

Please contact the panel organizers, Francisco E. Robles (frobles1@nd.edu) and Brandon Menke (brandon.menke@yale.edu), with any questions.