racialization of sexuality

There is no sexuality as such. Rather, there are diverse forms of sexuality and desire, which historically came about under conditions of power and domination. They are fueled by, but they also uphold power relations. Accordingly one may ask: How is sexuality involved in fostering racist hierarchies? How far does racism influence the distribution of social recognition or devaluation with reference to specific ways of sexual life? Which other constructions of social differences intertwine with racialized sexuality or sexualized racism?

The idea is to estimate sexuality from a perspective that assumes the interdependency of various social inequalities and discriminations. This might disclose how racist hierarchies are reinforced or undermined by class differences or norms of able-bodiedness. It might show how social hierarchies are built with the help of discourses and images of sexuality: taboos or rules of miscegenation, stereotypes of viciousness, attributions of animality, or moral ideals that define inferiority or superiority. Bodies are devalued, subjecthood is denied, and the status of being human is questioned – thanks to ascribing hypersexuality or to desexualizing certain bodies.

Which strategies of queer cultural and queer of colour politics work against racializations of sexuality or sexualized racism? How does activism tackle the complex interplay of heteronormativity, normative able-bodiedness, rigid gender binaries or capitalist economy?


sexual politics, torture, and secular time

Judith Butler
May 18, 2007, University of Hamburg

In the talk Butler asks us to consider the ways in which sexual politics has become bound up with state coercion and state-induced forms of abjection, with immigration politics, with anti-islamic racism, and even with torture.

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Un_learning Racialized Intimacies

workshop and readings
Café Rosi ich bin im Park, Berlin, 6. June 2015

When speaking of racialized intimacies, we do not only mean erotic and sexual relationships but also friendships as well as political contexts, which are fuelled or underlain by intimacies. While facing the fact that these relationships of choice do not exist beyond colonial histories or a neo-colonial and racist presence, we would still like to ask: Is queering possible? Can it be productive to take such forms of intimacy into account, as well as the promises, desires, fears, and anxieties that are entangled in the intertwining of racialization and eroticization? Short texts by Audre Lorde will serve as points of departure for our reflection process.

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Challenging the Neocolonial
Queer and Diasporic Forms of Un_learning

workshop series
various locations in Berlin

The series of workshops and public events seeks to challenge the colonial matrix of power and its legacies in different manifestations of intimacy in our everyday interactions. How do colonial, imperial, and racialized histories enter into, shape, and influence various forms of intimate relationships (queer, sexual, political, platonic, domestic)? And how can we contest and rework these histories through practices of un_learning? What does “un_learning” mean? What does the queer gap do to Spivak’s call to “unlearn one’s privileges”? How can we find new ways of facing the tensions and fractions within queer, feminist, queer of colour, anti-racist movements?

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Political Aesthetics of Drag

Shaka Mc Glotten
Talk 15 October 2014, ICI Berlin
desire’s multiplicity and serendipity 1

The anthropologist Shaka McGlotten explores in his ethnographic studies the subversive politics of drag, and questions the desire of resistance in different subcultural settings.
Drag can be a means of touching queer and other publics, or of mediating one’s economic precarity. It can function as art by other means, or by any means necessary. And like politics, drag can be a duty, a contentious pleasure, or something to dread.

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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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