Humanities Hosts Queer Art Poetics Conference April 23-25

queerartconference(By Lily Baggot ’15)

Later this month, scholars from across the country will gather on campus for the Queer/Art/Poetics Conference. The conference, which will run from April 23-24, is sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and will address questions such as “What does theory do when it takes queer art seriously?” and “How does queer theory remain artful while unpacking the objects, strategies and politics of queer aesthetics?”

According to the event organizers, Queer/Art/Poetics makes a claim for the centrality of aesthetic form and formal practices to the work of queer theorizing. Art in our conference title refers not only to the objects and performances toward which theorists are drawn, but also to the pleasurable, urgent, onerous, and productively messy exercise of interpretive skill. Poetics, aurally and textually flickering with politics, gestures both toward literal art production and the art of queer theorizing as creative sites reciprocally vitalized by new objects, questions, and movements. Rather than wedding our central terms into a seamless whole, we propose Queer/Art/Poetics, disjunctive backslashes and all, as a generative hermeneutics. We suggest that queer theory’s ongoing investment in questions of the political might be enriched by guiding its attention away from state and legal apparatuses and towards queer cultural and aesthetic forms where the political is imagined as a transformative poetics of co-habitation.

Co-sponsors of the event include the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life; the English, F.G.S.S., American Studies and Theater departments, and the Office of Equity and Inclusion. All events are free and open to the public.

The conference schedule is below:

At 7 p.m. April 23 in Beckham Hall, artist M. Lamar will present “Negrogothic.”

From 10 a.m. to noon on April 24 in the Vanguard Lounge, speakers will discuss “Queer Theory’s Excess Flesh: Accounting for Sex in the Archive.” Panelists include Stony Brook University Assistant Professor of Queer Studies Literary and Cultural Theory Kadji Amin; Wesleyan Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater Katherine Brewer Ball; Washington University in St. Louis Assistant Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Amber Musser; and Wesleyan Associate Professor of American Studies and Anthropology Margot Weiss.

From 1:30-3:30 p.m., panelists will discuss “Public Privates: Mediations of Queer Intimacy.” Speakers include Wesleyan Assistant Professor of American Studies Laura Grappo; Boston University Assistant Professor of French Jennifer Row’ and University of Michigan Assistant Professor of Screen Arts and Cultures Damon Young.

From 3:45-5:45 p.m., speakers will speak on “Fugitive Pleasure: Poetics of Illicit Desire.” Presenters include Wesleyan Assistant Professor of English Rachel Ellis Neyra; New York University Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and Performance Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality Ann Pellegrini; and Willamette University Assistant Professor of English Roy Pérez.

From 10 a.m.-12 p.m., April 25, panelists will discuss “Body’s Ends: Queer Vitality in the Post-Human.” Presenters include University of Southern California Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies, and Comparative Literature Jack Halberstam; George Mason University Assistant Professor of English Zakiyyah Iman Jackson; and University of California, Los Angeles Assistant Professor of English Uri McMillan.

The conference will wrap up at 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. with a talk on “Extra-Large Medium: Queer Mattering in Visual Culture.” Presenters include University of Wisconsin—Madison Assistant Professor of English Ramzi Fawaz; University of California-Berkeley Associate Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies Darieck Scott; and St. John’s University Assistant Professor of English Shanté Paradigm Smalls.