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?
The talk will explore how 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. Using the examples of the campaign against bullying and the struggle for same-sex marriage in the United States, I consider how race is directly deployed or inherently influences debates and battles over the status and scope of queer subjects. Correspondingly, given the significance of race in the intimate sphere, at least in the U. S., I consider what insights might be gained from centering the work of black queer theorists and activists as academics and activists re-imagine the politics of intimacy.
Black Queer Theory and neoliberalism
Workshop June 13, 2012, 1pm – 5pm, ICI-Berlin
The policies and rhetoric of neoliberalism impact and reshape the intimate sphere, using it as a site for state intervention while deploying the language of privatization. How does black queer theory challenge the attack on or use of the intimate sphere in neoliberalism?
In this workshop we will explore how the policies and rhetoric of neoliberalism impact and reshape the intimate sphere, using it as a site for state intervention while deploying the language of privatization. This use of the intimate sphere as a site of regulation is not new. For example, the intimate sphere has always been a heightened domain of regulation for racialized marginal communities. Understanding this, what lessons can we learn from the history of struggle in African-American communities over issues such as sex, desire and family? Specifically, we will explore what interventions in theory and practice might be developed from black queer theory to challenge the attack on or use of the intimate sphere in neoliberalism.
Cathy Cohen (Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago) is the author of the groundbreaking 2005 essay “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens” that has inspired much reflection and response from queer of color as well as critical whiteness thought. In the essay, Cohen criticizes the all-too-simple binary of “queer” versus “straight” and pleads for queer theory and politics to be more attentive to the complex and intertwined power relations of, for instance, sexuality, race, and class. In her early book, The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics (1999), she addresses the tensions between NGO and black community organizing, state politics, and the needs of individuals in relation to HIV/AIDS politics and policies. In her most recent book, Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics (2010), Cohen presents a detailed analysis of the racialized and often still racist power dynamics in contemporary US politics that draws on the actual voices of black youth. In her talk, she will connect this understanding of the racialized state to neoliberal developments and the specific forms they take “in the age of Obama.”
Talk and workshop are organized in cooperation with and financially supported by
Prof. Cilja Harders, Institute for Political Scince, Freie Universität Berlin &
Katharina Pühl, Zentraleinrichtung zur Förderung von Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung an der Freien Universität Berlin.