GWS News

Queer Publics Symposium Feb. 23-25

2/23/2017  8:00 am

Queer Publics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Thursday, February 23, 2017


4pm     Queer Publics Now

Gender and Women’s Studies, 1205 W. Nevada Street, Urbana


“Trans in Public”

Toby Beauchamp, Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies 

"Queer Indigenous Visibility against the Necropolitics of Erasure(s)"

Jenny L. Davis, Assistant Professor of Anthropology; Affiliate faculty in American Indian Studies, Gender & Women's Studies

"The Limits of Queer Publics and Solidarity"

Ghassan Moussawi, Assistant Professor of Sociology; Affiliate faculty in Gender and Women's Studies


8pm Monster Love

Featuring Erica Gressman, Dani Lamorte, Mikey McParlane, John Musser
Independent Media Center, 202 S. Broadway, Urbana
The infamous 19th century ‘monster law’ in the City of Urbana prohibited
“exhibitions of freaks of nature or monsters,” whose performances were not
allowed within the limits of the city unless proper licensing procedures were
followed. Monster Love is an outré variety show featuring queer performers who
each confront the audience with a vision of queer monstrosity. Historically,
monsters and freak shows were the queer bodies whose presence in the public
sphere sparked regulation, registration, and belied an anxiety about bodily and
municipal integrity. Monster Love draws from local legal historiographies to
inspire an engagement with the concept of monstrosity and queerness through

Friday, February 24, 2017


10-11:45am Graduate Student Panel: Bodies in Public

Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, Lecture Hall (3rd floor)
919 W. Illinois Street, Urbana

“’A Drop of Pepper in a Seal of Salt . . .’: Queer Bodies of Color, a Diversity
Leslie K. Morrow, Ph.D. student, Department of Educational Policy,
Organization, and Leadership

“If Hermits Were Queer: Solitary Counterpublics and the Work of Gender”
Benjamin Bascom, Ph.D. student, Department of English

“Shitty Subjects”
Kadin Henningsen, Ph.D. student, Department of English

“Bringing the Nonhuman into Queer Publics: Toxic Embodiment and Inciting
Queer Molecular Contamination”
Erin Grogan, Ph.D. student, Department of English

Chair: Christopher A. Eng, Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Associate,
Department of Asian American Studies

1:30-3pm Graduate Student Panel II: Flickering Pleasures

Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, Lecture Hall (3rd floor)
919 W. Illinois Street, Urbana

“A Flick of the Wrist: Geraldine Jones and the Performance of Normativity”
Chris Green, Ph.D. student, Department of History

"Snatching an Archive: RuPaul's Drag Race, Queer Families, and the Politics of
Gay Citation"
Michael Shetina, Ph.D. student, Department of English

“Pleasure in the Virtual Public: Queer Internet Porn as Transformative
Charli Brissey, MFA student, Department of Dance

Chair: José A. de la Garza Valenzuela, Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research
Associate, Department of Latina/Latino Studies

3pm Coffee break

4pm Keynote Address: “Queer Theory for Dark Times: Entanglements of the
Tavia Nyong’o, Professor of American Studies, African-American Studies and
Theatre Studies, Yale University

Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, Lecture Hall (3rd floor)
919 W. Illinois Street, Urbana

In the performance video “Quartered,” the artist Geo Wyeth channels a history of
sexual and racial violence into “a shard of light” that moves through locations in
the contemporary US South. Employing Henri Bergson’s concept of the “cone of
memory” to reckon with this transformation of the dead subject of queer black
feminist memorializing into a sharp, cutting shard of light, this talk explores how
a virtual past continues to inhabit the queer and trans present. Drawing on a
family history of complicity with gynecological violence against enslaved black
female victims, a history that takes perverse pride in legacies of Southern white
patriarchy, Wyeth’s “Quartered” performs race and transgender history through a
mode of engagement I will call “angular sociality.” Angular sociality is a way of
being in the world that makes space and time for haunting of a virtual past by
insisting on the perverse animatedness of the dead. It is not anti-relational but is
entangled with the present and the past in ways that defy easy identitarian
reconciliation. If fabulation is a process by which new myths are generated
through the shock of an encounter with an impersonal force so powerful it seems
lifelike, then we witness this trans and black fabulation in Wyeth’s performances
of cinematic, televisual, and family-historical myth-making. Alongside scholars
like C. Riley Snorton, Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, and Keguro Macharia, this talk
seeks to contribute towards a genealogy of queer and trans theory in which the
scandalous afterlives of slavery is central. In 2017, at a moment where
homonationalists left and right are seeking to absorb queerness even more
definitively into the ongoing white settler colonial project, in the process
abandoning historical and tactical alliances made with feminist struggles for
reproductive autonomy and black movements for liberation from state violence,
“Quartered” is an especially timely work to consider.


Saturday, February 25, 2017


2:30pm Film Screening:  I Am Not Your Negro (2017, Raoul Peck, NR, 95 min.)     

            Art Theatre Co-Op, 126 W. Church Street, Champaign

            Special admission price for first 125 audience members (this screening only):  $5

Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck has taken the 30 completed pages of James Baldwin’s final, unfinished manuscript, Remember This House, in which the author went about the painful task of remembering his three fallen friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, and crafted an elegantly precise and bracing film essay. Peck’s film, about the unholy agglomeration of myths, institutionalized practices both legal and illegal, and displaced white terror that have long perpetuated the tragic state of race in America, is anchored by the presence of Baldwin himself in images and words, read beautifully by Samuel L. Jackson in hushed, burning tones. (2017, Raoul Peck, NR, 95 min)


Queer Publics is organized by the Queer Studies Reading Group, with support from the
Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and the Illinois Program for Research in the
Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Details at