Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence

Queory Archive 2010

A list of previous Queory seminars over the Centre's history. If anybody knows of any Queories that have been missed, please get in touch with us!


Wednesday 8 December 2010

'Well, I've Queered That': Modernism and Transgender

Pamela Caughie (Loyola University, Chicago), Chowen Lecture Theatre, BSMS, 5pm.

The modernist era witnessed tremendous change in concepts of sexuality and gender. In the late 19th century, homosexuals, only recently named, were showing up in ever increasing numbers; the new field of gynecology meant more hermaphrodites were being discovered as well; and Freud was challenging the sacrosanct 19th-century belief in a biologically rooted sexual dimorphism by posing a universal bisexuality in children. On the social scene, the 'new woman' was performing masculinity by cutting her hair, wearing trousers, smoking in public, playing sports, and traveling alone. In Britain in 1929 Colonel Victor Barker (aka Valerie Arkell-Smith) was tried for perjury for passing as man. In Germany in 1931 the first transsexual surgery was performed, a story recounted in Man into Woman: An Authentic Record of a Change of Sex (1933). Add to these events numerous literary examples of trasnssexuality from the 1920s—e.g., Sherwood Anderson’s 'The Man Who Became a Woman,' transsexual scenes in the Circe chapter of Ulysses, Willa Cather’s One of Ours, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, Nella Larsen’s Passing, and Djuna Barnes’s Ladies Almanack, and is it any surprise that contemporary genealogies of transgender are beginning to return to the scene of the modern? Drawing on her writings on 'passing'and her teaching of (trans)gender theory, Prof Caughie will provide a genealogy of transgender that illustrates how modernist writers like Woolf and Larsen 'queer' modes of temporality and undermine readers’ investment in an economy of authenticity. The fluidity of gender boundaries that we have come to identify with postmodernity has as much or more to do with the historical conditions in which modernist art was produced as with contemporary transgender theory.


Wednesday 27 October 2010

Why the Gamester Will Not Quit: Notes on Same-Sex Desire in India

Akhil Katyal (SOAS, University of London), Fulton Lecture Theatre B, 5pm.

Discussions of same-sex desire need not be bound up by discussions of 'homosexuality.'  This paper turns to the south Asian idiom of baazi (play, bet, habit, addiction) in 20th-century India, where same-sex desire is framed as an object of one's habits or interests, formally similar to other 'bad' habits like alcohol, prostitution, or playing cards.  Mining through an assorted archive of publisher's advertisements, scandalous 1920s novels, autobiographies of the Urdu and Hindi literati, stories from declining Indian princely states, contemporary political murder mysteries, and current debates on democracy in India, the paper attempts to establish laundebaazi (launde is 'boys') as an aggressive political metaphor in south Asia, albeit shot through with an uncanny history of gentleness.


Thursday 14 October 2010

Gay Liberation in Britain: 40 Years On

Simon Watney (University for the Creative Arts), Fulton 104, 6pm.

Simon Watney has been involved in British lesbian and gay politics since 1970.  He was co-founder with Mark Rowlands of Brighton GLF and has a long-established international reputation in the field of HIV/AIDS education and service provision.  He has also been extensively involved in cultural and voluntary sector responses to HIV/AIDS both as a writer/scholar and as a founder of numerous charities and not-for-profit companies.  From 1985-89, Simon was founding chair of the Health Education Group at the Terrence Higgins Trust where he developed the Trust’s pioneering HIV prevention campaigns.  Simon also was a member of the Learning About Aids Project based at Bristol Polytechnic, which developed the main teaching text for HIV/AIDS education in British secondary schools.  In 1990, he was co-founder of the activist group OutRage, and in 1991, he was founder-signatory of the Red Ribbon Project in New York.  From 1988-1995, he wrote a monthly column on HIV/AIDS issues for the Gay Times. Openly HIV+, Simon was a trustee of the charity Crusaid from 2007-2010, with a particular interest in questions of AIDS and poverty in the UK.  Intertwined with his own personal trajectory, Simon’s talk will address this rich history of the politics of sexual dissidence in Britain from 1970 to the present day.