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Call for Abstracts (ICLA 2016, Vienna): (Queer) Relationality: Gender and Queer Comparatists at Work

21st World Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association
University of Vienna, 21-27 July 2016

(Queer) Relationality: Gender and Queer Comparatists at Work, 5-Day Seminar Sponsored by the ICLA Comparative Gender Studies Committee

Because the comparative examines literary and cultural texts relationally rather than what is assumed to be ontologically given, how might we theorise the ways in which genders, sexualities, languages, temporalities, identities, and cultural spaces touch? How might we examine spatial and cultural notions of physical proximity in comparative gender and queer studies frameworks? Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick observes in Touching Feeling that the term ‘beside’ is generative because ‘it comprises a wide range of desiring, identifying, representing, repelling, paralleling, differentiating, rivalling, leaning, twisting, mimicking, withdrawing, attracting, aggressing, warping, and other relations’ (8). What is crucial to queer relationality is not only the act of comparison, but a critical examination of the space ‘in between,’ which is not a space separating discrete categories, bodies, or languages, but binds, transforms, and translates them quite queerly. How might an emphasis on relationality demonstrate, in new ways, the multiplicity of inflections and intersections between gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, national and religious affiliation, and disability? Finally, what are some of the political stakes of a relational analysis, when we consider, for example, relations of language and violence and other power relations? To what extent can the relational, the trans, the liminal, the mediating space ‘in between’ operate as a potential site of rupture, of epistemological or social transformation?

Paper topics might include feminist/queer relations; transgender; gender and violence; queering translation; bodily proximities/distances; global/local relations; transnational relations and/as queer spaces; queering public/private relations and relations between the academy and the everyday world; rethinking kinship, family, and community relations; relations between gendered/sexual subjects and nation-states, etc. Papers can be in English, German, or French. Submit abstracts of no more than 2000 characters to under the above-listed seminar by 31 Aug 2015.

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