Un_learning Racialized Intimacies

Sa June 06, 2015 1:30-5:30pm, Berlin-Neukölln

The workshop “Un_Learning Racialized Intimacies” with Gloria Wekker (NL) and Gail Lewis (UK) aims at opening and creating spaces of discussion and alliance building. Our wish is to counter tendencies of groups separating into white queers, queers of color, critical whiteness advocates, diasporic queers, antiracist, crip (and whatever else is found useful for self-positioning).

Laylah Ali, Untitled (from the Typology series) 2007, ink on paper. Courtesy of the artist.

Laylah Ali, Untitled (from the Typology series) 2007, ink on paper. Courtesy of the artist.

We suggest the term “un_learning” (with a gap), which references Gayatri Spivak’s expression, „to unlearn our privileges“; whereby we assume a complex and contradictory multiplicity of privileges and discrimination. 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 underlaid by intimacies. While facing the fact that these relationships of choice do not exist beyond colonial histories or neocolonial 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?

These questions will be approached via critical engagement with literary and essayistic texts. Short texts by Audre Lorde will serve as triggers and points of departure for our reflection process. What do they tell us about the difficulty – and the pleasure – of finding formulations and words, and thus of reframing potential conflict. What could it mean to express one’s own position and encounters with difference, queerness, irritation, anger, and desire?

Gloria Wekker and Gail Lewis are from Audre Lordes’ generation, were friends of hers and explicitly represent her perspective of a solidary praxis in the context of multiple differences and power structures in the queer-feminist and Queer of Colour movements.

Audre Lorde (1934-1992) was and is an important US-American author and activist and self-proclaimed: „black lesbian feminist mother poet warrior“.
Gloria Wekker is the author of „The Politics of Passion“ and of “White Innocence” (Duke University Press, forthcoming) and professor emeritus of Gender Studies at Utrecht University (NL).
Gail Lewis (PhD) is a sociologist and psychotherapist at Birkbeck College, London (GB), working on gendering and racialization in postcolonial contexts.

The workshop will be spoken in English; however, workshop participants are most welcome to speak and discuss their opinions in German or any other language.

Please register (limited to 25 participants): mail@gender-queer.de

Organized by
Lena Eckert, Antke Engel, Sabrina Saase and Kathy-Ann Tan.

The workshop is part of a series of events titled „Challenging the Neocolonial. Queer and Diasporic Forms of Un_learning“ (Institute for Queer Theory)

Funded by Amadeu Antonio Foundation and Gender/Queer e.V.. Thanks so much!