Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence

Queory Archive 2017


 queory butt

Anti-Gravitas: The Politics of Queer Levity

Professor Gavin Butt (Sussex)

Wed 26 April, Jubilee G22, 5pm-7pm

Part of the School of English Colloquium series.

“One of the greatest weapons that people use on you to get you to conform”, the playwright and theatre-maker Charles Ludlam wrote, “is ridicule. However, if you take the position that you are already going to be ridiculous, they are powerless”. This lecture explores this provocation about the politics of queer self-mockery and asks whether or not it still rings true for contemporary queer and trans performers, as it did for some underground artists of the 1960s and 1970s. From theatre and performance art, to mainstream TV personalities, what does it mean for queer people to accept, or flaunt, a lack of seriousness today? Does it suggest that in times of LGBT “equality” queer people are still suspected of being somewhat less than equal, and that homo- and transphobia reserve acceptance only for queer persons marked as comic? Or does the refusal of gravitas by contemporary performers highlight a complaint with being taken seriously itself, pointing to more irreverent queer modes of self-esteem?

Gavin Butt is Attenborough Chair in Drama: Theatre and Performance in the School of English, working across the intersecting areas of performance studies, queer studies, and visual culture. He is currently completing a book, “Anti-Gravitas”, which explores the challenges to cultural seriousness presented within queer art and performance. He is co-editor of Post-Punk Then and Now (2016) and co-director of Performance Matters (2009-2014), a creative research project which explored ideas of cultural value in contemporary performance and live art.


queory sequoia 

Patrick Kelly Loves.... Transcoding Black Queerness on the Runway

Sequoia Barnes (Brighton)

Tue 14 Feb, Jubilee G36, 4pm-6pm

Patrick Kelly is best known as the kitschy fashion designer who was the first American to be accepted into the Chambre de Syndicale of Paris. However, he is also remembered for his use of controversial racial imagery, and many of the symbols he used were replete with historical tension, namely, the golliwog, the mammy, the watermelon, and images of Josephine Baker. Patrick Kelly loved using emblems to communicate his identity as a black gay man who was raised by women in Mississippi. This talk will frame Patrick Kelly as a tactical transcoder, a producer of symbols for communication, spectacle, and consumption. We will translate his symbols into a discourse about how Patrick Kelly visualizes Patrick Kelly.

Sequoia Barnes lectures at multiple universities, including the University of Brighton where she teaches history and critical theory in fashion. She is American, raised in Alabama, and received her first master’s at the University of Delaware in fashion and apparel studies. She also has a master’s from the University of Brighton in history of design and material culture. Her areas of interest are transcoding the black image, racial, gender, and class cross-dressing; as well as the “quareness” of black fashion. She is properly obsessed with Patrick Kelly and his subversion of the white gaze through kitsch.