The Institute for Queer Theory provides a space for research, theory building and international exchange with the aim of advancing sex/gender- and sexuality studies and instigating public debate and social practice. Committed to social change, the institute aims at transforming a normative order, which relies on the sex/gender binary and on dominant heterosexuality. It is its goal to develop non-hierarchical and de-normalizing ways of organizing gender and sexuality.
Queer Theory is a recent field of academic inquiry – studying cultural images, social practices and the institutionalizations of sex, gender and sexuality. From a queer perspective sex/gender and sexuality are perceived as neither naturally given nor anthropologically fixed. Rather, queer theory asks which processes and mechanisms constitute sex/gender and sexuality as effects of historically specific socio-cultural and geo-political power relations. Simultaneously, sex/gender and sexuality also function as productive moments of creating subjectivity and society. It questions how sex/gender and sexuality are woven together to ensure the normative privileging of heterosexuality and the sex/gender binary. Intersecting with other categories of social differentiation, they form, inform and secure relations of power and domination. By analyzing these relations queer theory seeks to enforce political transformations.
The Institute for Queer Theory aims at denaturalizing and deprivileging the sex/gender binary and heterosexuality. In accordance with queer approaches it furthermore seeks to challenge normalizations, hierarchies, and relations of domination and violence in all areas of culture and society. It strives to develop forms of acknowledging difference without fixing categories or norms, which in turn are criticized for affirming processes of exclusion or coercive inclusion. Therefore, in a more specific sense, the Institute for Queer Theory fosters the heterogeneity of gendered, sexed and sexual ways of existence, while in a wider sense it proposes the socio-political perspective of a controversial and agonistic pluralism.
The Institute for Queer Theory coordinates its projects and activities from its two local offices in Hamburg and Berlin. The projects of research, theory production and exchange, of study and of the promotion of innovative and critical thinking rely on transdisciplinary, transregional, and transnational cooperative networking. Accordingly, the institute organizes its own events, develops projects with partners and partner organizations and participates in projects initiated by others.
The Institute for Queer Theory embraces the Guidelines of Good Scientific Practice in Research and Scholarship as issued by the DFG (German Research Foundation).