Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence

Queory Archive 2013

Dr. Shamira Meghani (University of Leeds) 

Queer South Asian Muslims: the Ethnic Closet and its Secular Limits

Monday 8th April 4pm-6pm, University of Sussex, Jubilee 117

This paper explores contemporary UK and US queer South Asian Muslim discourses and texts. It considers the ways in which the apparent incompatability of same-sex desire with Islam functions to secure secular values, by suggesting specific, Muslim, limits to narratives of progress. Through the exclusion of the 'Muslim other' from secular discourse on the grounds of homophobia as well as gender inequity, Muslims in particular are produced as failing to uphold human rights. I will discuss some of the discourses of opposition and think through both Muslim and LGBT histories of identity construction, to show some of the ways in which current dominant discourses work. The context precedes a discussion of fictional texts by diasporic queer South Asian Muslims. These cannot be read simply as authentic anthropological documents, but can be seen as working within these dominant discourses as well as constructing their own. The paper will explore a film, Touch of Pink (2004) directed by Ian Iqbal Rashid, and the novels Straightening All (2007) by Amjeed Kabil, and The Two Krishnas (2011) by Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla. The paper is envisaged as part of a larger project considering the temporalities of 'home' and diaspora in queer postcolonial discourses and texts.

Dr. Shamira Meghani is a Lecturer at the University of Leeds and her research involves exploring literary constructions of subjectivity and identity, and intersections of sexuality, gender and ethnicity/race in relation to narratives of imperialism, nationalism and liberal-humanist ideologies. Her focus is on the theory and construction of the body and dissident gender, desire and sexuality in South Asian texts. She works on literary texts in English from the late nineteenth century to the present, and film from 'Bollywood', the South Asian diaspora, and Indian art cinema. 


Professor William L. Leap (Professor, Department of Anthropology, American University)  

Hot, hot, hot! Language, Same-Sex (Normative) Desire and Gay Pornography

Wednesday 27th March 4pm-5.30pm, University of Sussex, Jubilee 144

Queory William Leap Poster

Language and sexuality studies have changed greatly since the 1990s when discussions highlighted linguistic practices as markers of sexual identity and difference.  Today’s interests in language and desire bring together interests in language and affect and   language and political economy through carefully focused studies of ideology and stance-taking.

                   To develop this point, I turn to a current research project exploring  audience reactions to the content and imagery displayed in commercially prepared gay pornography. In this presentation, I consider gay porn viewers’ use of the term “hot” in on-line postings to porn-related websites, chat rooms, and news blogs. “Hot” indexes valued masculine properties that viewers associate with certain gay porn performers and their on-screen performances—but not with all of them.  “Twinks” (young, ephebic-like characters) are consistently found to be appealing and attractive, but they are “hot” only under very specific circumstances. Similarly, “hot” collocates irregularly with explicit references to race or ethnicity in these postings. 

                  So I am interested in who is included – and excluded – under the stance-marker “hot”, and   how depictions of  performers (and the characters they play) are altered  when viewers include (or exclude) “hot” in their commentary.  I am also interested in who is speaking in these instances, and in recovering evidence from on-line sources that allows me to construct a profile of the social voice.  But most importantly, I interested in clarifying the regulatory assumptions that define and shape inclusion and exclusion in these moments of linguistic usage.  Through its evaluatory work, the viewers are producing cartography of experience whose details allow certain forms of marginality and deviance to become sites of value and praise, and comparable forms of marginality and deviance are pushed even deeper in the margins. Far from being an innocent erotic reference, “hot” is deeply embedded in homonormative practice, and the same is true for the audience reception/discussion of gay pornography that “hot” enables.  

Professor Leap is also the Senior Editor of Journal of Language and Sexuality http://www.benjamins.com/#catalog/journals/jls


Film screening: United in Anger: A History of ACT UP , followed by a Q&A with producer Sarah Schulman

Monday 18th February 6pm, Duke of York's @ Komedia, Gardner Street, North Laine, Brighton BN1 1UN, Tel: 0871 902 5728 

Eyes Wide Open Poster

The 'Eyes Wide Open' film programme and the University of Sussex's Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence present a screening of one of the most important contemporary documentaries about ACT UP  (the AIDS coalition to Unleash Power). The screening will be followed by a discussion with Dr. John David Rhodes (University of Sussex, School of English) and the film's producer, Sarah Schulman. 

For tickets and further information please visit: http://www.picturehouses.co.uk/cinema/Dukes_At_Komedia/film/United_In_Anger_A_History_Of_Act_Up/

Sarah Schulman gave a Q&A chaired by faculty member JD Rhodes, speaking about her experiences and role in producing the film United In Anger: A History Of Act Up (2012). She talks about the Act-Up movement, the logistics of the filming and her personal experiences of the AIDS epidemic, Act-Up and current gay rights issues. To listen to the podcast of the Q&A session please click below:

Sarah Schulman Podcast 18/2/13


Sarah Schulman in Conversation

Monday 18th February 11am-1pm, University of Sussex, Fulton 207

PLEASE NOTE numbers are limited for this event, so reply to Tom Houlton at sexualdissidence@sussex.ac.uk to reserve your place.

Writer, activist and filmmaker Sarah Schulman will hold a conversation with University of Sussex faculty and students based around the introduction to her recent book "Israel/Palestine and the Queer International" (Duke University Press 2012). Copies of the introduction will be circulated to those who sign up to attend the event.

Sarah Schulman has seventeen published works (of both fiction and non-fiction), and is the recipient of the American Library Association Stonewall Book Award, as well as being a nominee for the Lambda Literary Award. Her theatre work includes collaborations with Robin Epstein and Dorothy Cantwell of More Fire! Productions, Jennifer Monson, Zeena Parkins, Scott Heron, Jennifer Miller, John Bernd, Susan Seizer, Mark Owen, Maggie Moore, Holiday Reinhorn, Melinda Wade, Bina Sharif, and Mark Ameen. She has been an early advocate for direct action, being involved with ACT UP, CARASA and Lesbian Avengers. In 1987, Schulman and filmmaker Jim Hubbard founded the New York Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film Festival, now called MIX and in its twenty-fourth year. Since 2001 they have been creating the ACT UP Oral History Project and have released the feature documentary "United in Anger: The History of ACT UP", which premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City on February 19, 2012. Sarah Schulman was made a Revson Fellow for the Future of New York City at Columbia University and received a Stonewall Award for Contributions Improving the Lives of Lesbians and Gays in the United States. In 2009 she was awarded the Kessler Prize for sustained contribution to LGBT Studies, given by The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University Graduate Center. In 2009 she was also appointed to the Advisory Council of the Harvard Kennedy School's Carr Center for Human Rights and Social Movements, and in 2011 was named to the Advisory Board of Jewish Voice for Peace. She is coordinator of the "Homonationalism and Pinkwashing" Conference to be held at the City University Graduate Center on April 10th and 11th, 2013 with keynotes by Haneen Maikay, Rabih Alemeddine, Judith Butler and Jasbir Puar. She is currently working on two new plays: "Choice", about the plaintiff and the attorney in the Roe v. Wade case, and "The Lady Hamlet" - a 1920s backstage comedy about two great female stage divas competing to play the role of Hamlet on Broadway, and a novel, "The Cosmopolitans".