Race and Queer Theory in the Age of Obama

Cathy Cohen
The Subtle Racializations of Sexuality 6
Talk, June 12, 2012, 7.30pm, ICI-Berlin

Changes in our understanding of the racialized state, as experienced in the United States in the era of President Obama for example, inform both queer theory and queer politics. How does the work of black queer theorists as academics and activists re-imagine the politics of intimacy? How is race in/directly deployed in debates over the status and scope of queer subjects?

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Rethinking Ethical Feminism and Sexual Politics through uBuntu

Drucilla Cornell
The Subtle Racializations of Sexuality 5
Talk, May 15, 2012, 7.30pm, ICI-Berlin

Transnational feminism, as both an ethical ideal and an actual struggle to form political alliances, raises some of the most difficult and burning issues about what it means to challenge profound Eurocentric biases. Alliances, particularly when including sexual politics, demand of us that we rework some of our most cherished feminist ideas, such as freedom and equality, without of course giving up on those ideals. In order to do so, Cornell examines the potentials of uBuntu, a non-Western (South African) ethics.

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Encountering Sexual Aliens:
State Sovereignty and the Heteronormative Mechanism
at Work on the Margins of Taiwan

Antonia Chao
The Subtle Racializations of Sexuality 4
Talk 24. April 2012, ICI Berlin

Based on ethnographic research conducted on Taiwan’s three crucial sites of national borders, this talk mines the intersections between border control, state sovereignty, national belonging and “perverted sexualities”. The focus will be on three forms of subjects, perceived as “sexual aliens”, whose trans-migratory acts violate the principle of biological and heterosexual reproduction .

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Postracial Europe?
Minority Activism and the Queering of Ethnicity

Fatima El-Tayeb
The Subtle Racialization of Sexuality 3
Talk, 14. November, 2011, 19.30, ICI-Berlin

In her talk El-Tayeb traces forms of racialization rooted in very particular configurations of race, religion, colonialism, sexuality, nation, and “Europeanness.” These configurations situate racialized communities in a “queer” space and time constellation that in turn provides the source for trans-local strategies of resistance. The talk focuses in part on the spatio-temporal queering of ethnicity through a neoliberal restructuring of the city, in which the symbolic inclusion of the white LGBT community is dependent on the exclusion of people of colour and on the erasure of queer of colour positionality.

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On Not Becoming a National Part:
Willfulness as Political Art

Sara Ahmed
The Subtle Racializations of Sexuality 2
Talk, October 27, 2011, 7.30pm, ICI-Berlin

This lecture rethinks national citizenship as “technology of the will.” And it reflects on wilfulness as political art – a political art which deals in the field of the ongoing difficulty of speaking about racism, as well as queer of colour activism. According to national citizenship the “would be” citizen must be willing to make their will conditional on the national will. The national, however, defines itself as the general will.

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The Cost of Getting Better:
Ecologies of Race, Sex, and Disability

Jasbir Puar
The Subtle Racializations of Sexuality 1
Talk, June 7, 2011, 7.30pm, ICI-Berlin

Can affective connectivities and conviviality enable a rethinking of neoliberal stratification? Discourses surrounding queer suicide reproduce problematic assumptions not only about race, class, and gender, but also bodily health, debility, and capacity. Jasbir Puar links this to Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project.

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subtle? how sexuality gets racialized

The Subtle Racialization of Sexuality series
Workshop, April 23/24, 2012, TrIQ, Berlin

How is sexuality deployed for political ends? … in official state politics, in the media, in activism? Do political struggles acknowledge intersections between homo- and transphobia, able-bodiedness, and racism? Is “subtle” racialization a euphemism, or does it allow us to point out particular forms of dis/articulating racism? The workshop explores in more depth the discussions initiated by the lecture series „“The Subtle Racialization of Sexuality“ through activating knowledge and experiences from activism and project work.

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The Subtle Racializations of Sexuality

Queer Theory, the Aftermath of Colonial History, and the Late Modern State
Lecture series June 2011 – June 2012 at the ICI-Berlin

Self-proclaimed liberal and pluralist Western states happily turn to gender and sexual politics in order to demonstrate their presumed progressiveness. They find support from some parts of feminist and LGBTI activism that regard the (neo)liberal state and diversity policies as instrumental in achieving integration and recognition. Such alliances have recently been criticized for fostering new social divisions and endorsing occidentalist and sometimes racist premises. Debates around this critique have tended to reproduce the political figure of antagonism, polarizing the dominant white middle class against various minoritized positions. This lecture series seeks instead to bring to the fore the nuances of the critique and aims at advancing queer sexual politics that take into consideration the subtle racializations of sexuality and the aftermath of colonial history.

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