Queer Oceans Panel
Event: 04/12/2018 – 04/15/2018
This panel, titled Queer Oceans, seeks abstracts for papers that explore the ocean in relation to queer studies. The sea has frequently been idealized as a place for escaping the norms that bind life on land. From sodomitic pirates to the famous spermaceti scene in Moby-Dick, the sea often emerges in suggestively queer contexts. However, discussions of these queer possibilities rarely take into account the nautical setting in which they occur.
Building on the fields of oceanic studies and queer ecocriticism, we wish to examine what it might mean to prioritize the ocean instead of reading literary works according to the national canons in which they are so often put. What would it look like to theorize a queer ocean, taking into account the ocean as metaphor and the ocean as material environment? We hope to bring oceanic studies into conversation with literary studies in order to foreground the queer potentialities opened up by the ocean’s materiality. The following questions offer just a few of the channels through which panelists might explore the intersection of these two fields:
- How does the literary ocean differ from real oceans, and what do we gain by this distinction?
- In what ways does a queer ocean help us reimagine relationships between the global north and south?
- How has the ocean as an imagined world changed now that it is no longer a primary means of transportation?
- How does consideration of the queer ocean help us reread previous literary analyses that position the mariner as an exemplary national citizen?
300-word abstracts should be submitted by September 30th via NEMLA’s online system, available at the link: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/16924. Abstracts may be submitted starting June 15th.