Tag Archives: homophobia rewritten

It’s been a little while since the last blog post. I’ve been busy organising and hosting the AHRC-funded symposium IMG_2045Homophobia Rewritten: New Literary and Cultural Perspectives on Violence and Sexuality.

This one-day event brought together a wide range of speakers to examine literary and cultural representations of, and responses, to homophobia. It took the term homophobia to mean all kinds of denials of, and attacks on, queer existence including, for example, heteronormative practices as well as verbal and physical attacks. Some papers examined historical examples of homophobia and their legacies (e.g. how homophobia shaped modern state politics, questions about the emergence of homosexual visibility in Europe), while others examined 21-century examples of homophobia and anti-homophobia in and across different countries and regions such as India, China, Sub-Saharan Africa, Canada, the US, the UK, and, in the case of Alison Donnell’s exemplary keynote, the Caribbean.

The papers dealing with historical contexts explored the links between politics and sexuality as well as the creation of popular images and stereotypes about the body that sometimes supported and sometimes undermined queer existence. Here the discussions ranged from the influence of Carlyle’s homophobic writings on Frederick the Great to British dandyism, from suicide in fin de siecle fiction to the impact of Section 28 on young adult fiction in Britain.

Presentations on contemporary contexts in turn indicated the usefulness of historical and cultural perspectives for understanding present-day science and Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 16.23.09politics. Discussing topics as diverse as sub-Saharan presidential narratives, transsexual marriage legislation in China and Taiwan, femme representation in the UK, and and the role of graphic novels in popularising Anglophone psychological theories about homosexuality, these papers made clear that despite the advances in equality legislation in many countries, homophobia remains part of the everyday experience of people whose bodies and desire do not conform to particular sexual and social norms. For instance, next to interpersonal encounters homophobia is perpetuated vial cultural representations that insist on portraying queer existence in terms of inevitable suffering. Negative stereotyping also continues in scientific and political debates about same-sex intimacies in and about non-Western contexts, which frequently deploy a racist rhetoric and fail to address real concerns with how to end anti-queer violence.

IMG_2044 - Version 2

Some papers explored how queer subcultures police their own boundaries and are complicit in the creation of new norms (e.g. in relation to marriage, or gendered assumptions about what certain sexual identities should ‘look like’). Others discussed queer representations that explictly challenge social norms. The papers on First Nation fiction and Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place, for instance, turned to literature to explore the intersections between racial injustice and violence against women. Issues of violence against women also informed the discussion of the Canadian-Indian film Fire. It took the recent attacks on women in India and the reintroduction of Section 377 in the country as its prompt for re-examining the complex representational strategies by which Indian women-who-love-women challenge cultural, social and religious norms.

The day concluded with a keynote on queer Caribbean literature, which illustrated beautifully the importance of fiction Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 14.59.56and poetry for understanding and reshaping sexual politics. Shifting the focus from dancehall homophobia to a wide-ranging literary archive of desire, the keynote offered an affirmative reading of nonnormative intimacies in the region. In so doing, it also modelled the benefits of what we might call a ‘literary approach’ – an imaginative, archival, critical analysis – to sexual politics in the Caribbean and beyond.

My own investment in putting together Homophobia Rewritten is linked to my project on Magnus Hirschfeld, which tries to gain a better understanding of the violent shaping of queer modernity. When planning the symposium, I deliberately introduced the notion of  ‘rewriting’  to encourage contributions that record and critique homophobia in its different manifestation, and in so doing partake – perhaps willingly, perhaps not – in a project of transformative criticism. In its broadest ambition the symposium aimed to contribute to research that addresses what Judith Butler has called the question of ‘how to create a world in which those who understand their gender and their desire to be nonnormative can live and thrive not only without the threat of violence from the outside but without the pervasive sense of their own unreality’.

There are no easy answers or solutions to this question. But what emerged during Homophobia Rewritten, as the individual contributions looked across time and space and across disciplinary and generic contexts, was a sense of the importance of collective engagements with how to make lives liveable.

 

 

 

Advertisements

19 May. Update: Homophobia Rewritten no longer open to all

Due to venue constraints we had to make the difficult decision to limit attendance at the Homophobia Rewritten symposium in June to speakers only.

The door policy will be strictly enforced. Please spread the word about the changed registration process so that people don’t make wasted journeys.

I realise that this is disappointing news for those of you who had planned to attend the event as audience members. However, do keep an eye out on this blog. I will post an update after the symposium has taken place.

Image

1 May 2014: Homophobia Rewritten programme out now!

IMG_1437 - Version 2This update is no longer accurate. Due to venue constraints we had to limit attendance to speakers only. I have updated the post accordingly. HB

 I’m really pleased to announce that the programme for the Homophobia Rewritten symposium I’m organising at Birkbeck is now available. The line-up of speakers includes a fantastic mix of literary and cultural critics, historians and gender studies scholars – and, of course, the brilliant Alison Donnell, who will present the keynote.

******

HOMOPHOBIA REWRITTEN: 

New Literary and Cultural Perspectives on Violence and Sexuality

 Friday, 13 June 2014

Birkbeck, University of London

 ******

PROGRAMME 

9.30: Welcome & Introduction

         Heike Bauer (Birkbeck): Dead Queer.

 9.45 – 10.45: Dead Ends

Conny Wächter (Paderborn), ‘Internalised Heteronormativity

and Suicide in E.M. Forster and Victoria Cross’.

Lucy Iwamoto (Roehampton), ‘Hate and Homotopias: Young Adult Fiction,

Before, During and After Section 28’.

 11.00 – 12.30: Questionable Visibilities

David R. Sorensen (St Joseph’s University), ‘“An Unnamable Object”:

                     Carlyle, Frederick the Great and the Love that Dared not

Speak Its Name’.

Dominic Janes (Birkbeck), ‘Caricature and Images of Same-Sex Desire

Before the Trials of Oscar Wilde’.

Caroline Walters (Middlesex), ‘Femme Anthologies: Making Femme

Identities Visible’. 

1.30-3.00: Popular Injury

Katherine Hubbard (Surrey), ‘Psychology, Homosexuality and the Graphic

Novels of Alan Moore’.

Monalesia Earle (Birkbeck), ‘”Gutter”: Gloria Naylor’s The Women of

Brewster Place (1982)’.

Harriet King (Nottingham), “A Special King of Suffering”: First Nations

    Sexuality, Gothic Tradition and Trauma Theory in Tomson

      Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen’.

3.15- 4.45: Present Tensions

Churnjeet Mahn (Surrey) & Diane Watt (Surrey), ‘Incendiary Sexualities:

Setting Light to Lesbian Bodies in Deepa Mehta’s Fire (1996)’.

Howard Chiang (Warwick), ‘2013: Queering Marriage in Sinophone Communitiies’

Benjamin Eveslage (SOAS), ‘Contemporary Politicisation of

Homosexuality: Presidential Narratives in Sub-Saharan Africa’

 5.00 – 6.00: Keynote   

Alison Donnell (Reading),

Caribbean Queer: Impossibility or Inevitability

*******

The symposium is supported by the

AHRC, BIGS & the Department of English & Humanities, Birkbeck

Contact: h.bauer@bbk.ac.uk                                               

26 March 2014. Contribute NOW: Homophobia Rewritten

Image

 

The deadline for paper abstracts for ‘Homophobia Rewritten’ is coming up. I’ve already received some great submissions. If you’re interested in contributing, please get in touch by 31 March. 

Contributions from postgraduates as well as established academics welcome.

 

Call for Papers (deadline 31 March 2014)

Homophobia Rewritten: New Literary Perspectives on Violence and Sexuality

An AHRC-funded Symposium 

Date: Friday, 13 June 2014
Venue: Birkbeck, University of London

Keynote: Professor Alison Donnell (Reading)

This one-day symposium examines literary and cultural representations of, and
responses, to homophobia. It defines homophobia broadly to mean all kinds of denials
of, and attacks on, queer existence including for example heteronormative practices
as well as verbal and physical attacks.

By exploring representations of intimate lives lived with and against the threat of violence,
and by documenting anti-homophobia and other forms of resistance, the symposium
aims to gain new insights into the interlinked cultures, histories, experiences and
politics of violence and sexuality across time and place.

Papers may address, but are not limited to:

* Literary & Cultural Histories of (Anti-) Homophobia
* (Anti-) Homophobia in Fiction / Graphic Novels / Film / Popular Culture / Visual Culture
* Hate / Racism / Antisemitism/ Colonialism / Postcolonialism
* Identities / Bodies / Gender / Class / Race
* (Pre)Modernity / the Contemporary
* Medicine / Law / New Knowledge Formations
* Translation / Migration /Poverty / Wealth

Please send 300-word proposals for 20-minute papers, and a short biographical note, to the organizer,
Dr Heike Bauer (h.bauer@bbk.ac.uk) by 31 March 2014.

***********