DC Queer Studies Symposium: Queer Speculations (April 17 2015)

One of the first and most exciting tasks I’ve undertaken in my new job has been inviting speakers and developing the theme for the annual DC Queer Studies Symposium – an event I watched longingly from afar before I moved here (I defended my dissertation during the 2012 conference celebrating the career of Samuel R. Delany, as I recall). I’m delighted to share this year’s theme and call for papers, and I hope that everyone reading this will distribute it widely and consider attending! The official call for papers is online at this link.


What if? And what then? The time and space of gender, sexuality, race, and empire are shaped by acts of speculation: both financial speculation on “futures” markets and the speculative imaginaries that invent, theorize, imagine, and enact different kinds of worlds. Queer theory, politics, and life have always engaged in speculative practice, demanding we attend to forms of kinship, politics, gender, sex, and sociality that exceed the logics of assimilation. In recent years, attention has turned both to the ways in which some queer formations can reinforce the logics of speculative capital, and to the work of speculative cultural production in imagining different, deviant worlds.

We invite proposals for presentations at QUEER SPECULATIONS, the 8th Annual DC Queer Studies Symposium at the University of Maryland. The symposium will be a daylong series of conversations about the various speculative practices queer theory, politics, and life engage, and the kinds of queer speculations about queer bodies, objects, feelings, pasts, futures, utopias, dystopias, and transformations that are emerging. Events will include paper sessions featuring faculty and graduate students, a buffet lunch, and a plenary session featuring Ramzi Fawaz (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and Shanté Paradigm Smalls (St. John’s University), whose work is expanding the field of scholarship on queerness and race in speculative cultural production.

The day will culminate with a keynote address by Juana María Rodríguez, Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Rodriguez is author of Sexual Futures: Queer Gestures and Other Latina Longings (NYU Press, 2014) which speculates about the world-making practices of queer of color femme intimacies and embodiments. Her other publications include Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces (NYU, 2003) and numerous articles related to her research in sexuality studies, queer activism in a transnational American context, critical race theory, technology and media arts, and Latina/o and Caribbean Studies.

The 2015 symposium marks the coming-together of Women’s Studies and LGBT Studies at the University of Maryland College Park, a moment to inspire creative speculation about possible futures for transformative knowledge production within the university.

We welcome proposals for presentations on topics including but not limited to:

  • Queer speculative cultural production in media and literature
  • Speculative worldmaking in queer communities and social movements
  • The relationship of queer politics and culture to speculative capital, risk, and debt
  • Queer currents in speculative materialism / the philosophical speculative turn
  • Speculative uses of emerging technologies for queer bodies and worlds
  • Queer interventions into global, imperial logics of speculation
  • Speculative queer ecologies of the human and nonhuman
  • Speculation as queer knowledge production in the academy and beyond

Proposals for 15-minute presentations should include name, affiliation, e-mail address, title of paper, a 250-word abstract, and a 1-2 page CV. We also welcome submissions for 45-minute panels, but we may reorganize speakers due to the demands of scheduling. If you submit a panel, please include a panel title and a brief explanation of the panel rationale. Please send materials by e-mail attachment (Word or PDF only) by January 16, 2015 to DCQS@umd.edu. Put “Submission for Queer Speculations” in the subject line of your message. For more information, contact JV Sapinoso at sapinoso@umd.edu. Selected participants will be notified by February 20, 2015.

All symposium events are free and open to the public. More details will be forthcoming at http://www.lgbts.umd.edu