Fucking Solidarity: queering concepts on/from a Post-Soviet perspective
part VIII of the international conference series Queering Paradigms.
University of Vienna, Department for English and American Studies
20-23 September 2017
The Queering Paradigms network is dedicated to examining the current state and future challenges of queer studies from a broad trans-disciplinary and polythetic perspective, and by interrogating numerous social, political, cultural and academic agendas.
Lately, much activist work, in the global North/West and beyond, has been done under the banner of Queer Solidarity. Much of this solidarity targets human rights violations, homo- and trans*phobia in regions, far away from the north/western metropolitan areas where street protests fight the ‘antihomosexual propaganda law’ in Russia, the re-criminalization of same-sex relationships in India or against homophobic violence in Uganda.
Solidarity was and is a key concept in anticapitalist, Marxist, socialist, workers movements and materialist critique as well as in movements critically questioning globalization. Today, queer solidarity movements seem to have lost these roots within the class struggle and seem less concerned with neoliberal development, globalization, labor conditions (including sexualized and gendered labor), the continuation of colonial exploitation etc. With our conference we want to take a closer look at the current performances of queer solidarity, especially towards the post-soviet context.
What does it mean to perform queer solidarity? Which concepts of solidarity do these movements bring forward? What is queer solidarity for? Who are the recipients of queer solidarity? What are the values of queer solidarity? And what is the motivation for this solidarity?
Many postcolonial and decolonial scholars point to the hegemonies of contemporary queer solidarity movements and the erotic, sexually libidinous aspect of solidarity. They highlight the unequal distribution of privilege and power, between the benevolent donors and the recipients of solidarity, the privileges to ‘afford’ solidarity. Following this line of thought, we want to ask about queer solidarity towards post-soviet subjects, the hegemonies and different levels of vulnerability within queer solidarity alliances. Taking the diversity of the post-soviet spaces seriously, we challenge the Western Gaze of queer activism on the post-soviet space that projects whiteness and inferiority, questioning the motives and ethics of queer solidarity practices. Especially activists, artists and scholars working on and within the post-soviet and post-socialist context have long pointed to the problematic practices of white tourism in the name of queer solidarity, that strongly overlaps with forms of exoticizing and sometimes even sex tourism. Can ‘fucking’ really be a form of solidarity? Or asked differently, under what conditions can fucking be solidarity?
Further, we ask about the appropriate concepts to question phenomena such as north/western hegemonies, post-soviet subalternity as well as Russian coloniality or imperialism etc.
With Fucking Solidarity we strongly built on and include the critique of post-soviet queer activists and artists. Speaking from and in solidarity with the post-soviet perspective, we want or need to queer the actors of queer solidarity, blurring the lines between the ‘recipients’ and ‘agents’, the ‘giving’ and ‘taking’. As queer post-soviet migrants within North/Western Europe, many of us are both, those who receive as well as those who give solidarity.
With our conference ‘Fucking Solidarity’, we ask for the possibilities, gains and limits of (our) queer solidarity. We want to ‘fuck’ with the idea, the theories, the practices and the art of solidarity, from different angles, different spaces, from and with different groups. Investigating into the erotics of queer solidarity, their drives, and desires behind it we reflect on hegemonies and the possibility for anti-hierarchical or empowerment. We are interested in the possibilities of queering existing concepts and practices of solidarity, especially those solidarity approaches towards the post-soviet/post-socialist and postcolonial spaces and their respective inhabitants.
Fucking Solidarity is interested in constructive criticism. We hope to learn about new approaches and ways of solidarity, from queer-feminist, anti-racist, anti-hierarchical, horizontal, inclusive, “check-your-privilege”, decolonizing perspectives.
As it is tradition in the Queering Paradigms series, a part of the conference is reserved for contributions that cover a broad spectrum of queer topics, beyond the focus on queer solidarity and post-soviet perspectives.
We accept proposals for many different styles and formats: 20 minutes presentations, poster presentations, workshops, exhibitions, round tables, open discussions, parties, performances, videos, lecture-performances.
Conference languages are Russian and English.
As organizers we try our best to provide an accessible space, and ask our presenters to make their presentations as easy accessible as possible. All conference venues will be wheelchair-accessible.
All conference food will be vegan, and preferably fair-trade.
Invited are all activists, artists, workers, independent researchers as well as academics from all levels of their career, who are interested in the topic of queer solidarity.
Please send us a 350 word abstract with a topic, main ideas and format of your input as well as a 150 word short-biography. Deadline for Proposals is 15 March 2017. Please send your abstract to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information go to our homepage http://qp8.univie.ac.at