Proposal for the LA Queer Studies Conference Panel: October 2009
“Embodied Queer Theory: Living a Queer Life”
Moderator: Robert Summers, PhD/ABD
This proposed panel sets out to explore subjects who perform their lived body, as a modality of queer theory, on the level of the everyday. As opposed to certain strands within queer theory that remain abstract, and thus disembodied, a close examination of lived subjects, past or present—for example, the dandy, Claude Cahun, Baroness Elsa, Arthur Craven, McDermott and McGough, Andy Warhol, David Wojnarowicz, Kathy Acker, William Burroughs, Vaginal Davis, or others—will be explored, and an articulation of how one has, or does, enact “queerness” will be foregrounded.
Some questions to be asked: By whom, and how, is (proto-)queer theory being done, enacted through the body? What “queer” practices existed in the past that are now being enacted in the present? What does it mean to live, enact a queer life on a daily basis—and is this even possible? Further, it is hoped that as opposed to being prescriptive and articulating “how to be queer,” the panelists, via the presentation of specific subjectivities, will gesture toward “living queerly” as an on-going and creative process, which, it is hoped, will open up queer theory as a daily practice of enacting queerness in and through the body, and, finally, what the political, ethical, and/or aesthetic consequences are to “living queerly” in a normative society. Indeed, both historical and contemporary subjectivities will be explored. Submissions from the fields of anthropology, art, art history, comparative literature, English, history, theater and performance, and other fields are welcomed. Proposals that further open up—and even complicate—the questions asked above are more than welcomed.
Please submit a 250-word proposal to Robert Summers at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 20, 2008. If you have any questions and/or concerns, then please email me at email@example.com