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CFP: Cruising the Seventies: Imagining queer Europe then and now, Cruising the Seventies: Imagining queer Europe then and now, Edinburgh, 14 – 16 March 2019.

Cruising the Seventies: Imagining queer Europe then and now

Call for Papers: Cruising the Seventies: Imagining queer Europe then and now

14 – 16 March 2019
Edinburgh, Scotland

Keynotes: Sam Bourcier, University of Lille; Fatima El-Tayeb, UC San Diego, and others TBC

Cruising the Seventies: Imagining queer Europe then and nowexplores cultural expressions of LGBTQ struggles across Europe in the 1970s, asking what queer histories of this decade might offer in the political present.

The decade that lies between the early expressions of Gay Liberation in the US in the late 1960s and the onset of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the early 1980s occupies a central place in the imaginary of queer politics and the histories that are told of it. Across Europe in the 1970s expressions of queer sexuality manifested unevenly. Through legislative changes, organised rights movements, and counter-cultural practices, LGBTQ individuals and groups emerged into tentative public visibility informed by anti-colonial struggles and in exchange with the Women’s Liberation Movement.

The burgeoning of an emergent LGBTQ politics in this period was shaped through cultural expressions. The circulation of manifestos, experimental literature, film and art, and the aesthetic dimensions of political activism, all represent crucial forms through which queer life was lived and imagined. Revisited through the lens of the present, cultural expressions of LGBTQ activism in the 1970s allow a discontinuous history of queer visibility to appear, one that has been variously mythologised and marginalised, its political possibilities limited, subsumed, and opened out.

At a time of uncertainty in Europe we hope to excavate these unrealised possibilities of queer pasts. We invite papers for an international conference that explore cultural expressions of queer community and politics at a formative period in the history of postnational Europe. We welcome contributions from academics, activists, and artists that turn to aesthetics in order to explore the radical manifestations of queer politics, community, and sexuality across Europe in the 1970s.

With a focus on cultural expressions and aesthetic dimensions of the queer 1970s, possible topics could include but are not limited to:

  • Methods and methodologies for addressing the 1970s in the present including perspectives on queer historiography;
  • Cultural, dialogic and/or sexual exchanges between Western and Central Europe;
  • Histories of movement and migration between European colonies and countries, including tourism to former European colonies;
  • The impact of religious, legal and medical discourses and institutions on nascent expressions of LGBTQ visibility;
  • Spaces of sexual liberation and queer struggle such as bookshops, bars and cafes, parks and public toilets, and the domestic sphere;
  • Intersections between Gay Liberation with anti-colonial struggles, the Third World and Women’s Liberation Movements, socialism and other Left movements;
  • The ways that the 1970s influenced or has been imagined through queer theory;
  • Reference to the 1970s in contemporary queer activism and art.


Expressions of interest in the form of 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers or proposals for alternative formats should be sent to by 5pm, Friday 14 September 2018.

We welcome submissions from academics, artists and other cultural producers, activists, independent researchers, and groups. For alternate formats, we will work with applicants to find suitable venues where necessary.

Please feel free to contact us at if you would like to discuss your submission in advance of the deadline.


There will be no fee to take part in this conference. Additionally, we are committed to supporting those who work precariously either within or outside of the academy. In recognition of these conditions, bursaries will be available for speakers who do not have access to institutional support. These will support travel and accommodation. Please indicate on your proposal if you would like to be considered for one of these bursaries.


The events will take place across a range of spaces in Edinburgh including academic and non-academic ones. All events associated with the conference will be free and wheelchair accessible. Where possible events and screenings will be accompanied by live or closed captions and translation.

Cruising the Seventies: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures explores LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) social and sexual cultures of the 1970s, and their significance for LGBTQ people across Europe now and in the future. CRUSEV reconstructs aspects of LGBTQ cultures and interactions from the 1970s, the decade before HIV/AIDS, to consider what this knowledge can contribute to queer politics and identity in Europe’s present and future. The three-year research project is financed by the European funding agency HERA, under HERA’s ‘Uses of the Past’ theme.

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