DC Queer Studies Symposium Archive

In 2006 a group of faculty from schools in the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area formed to discuss new works in the field and to exchange, support, and cultivate new ways of engaging with LGBT/Queer/Sexuality Studies across the disciplines and across institutions. That group, the DC Queer Studies Consortium, was integral to the inception of the first DC Queer Studies Symposium in 2008.


Queer Beyond Repair: The Ninth Annual DC Queer Studies Symposium - April 22, 2016


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On one hand, "Queer beyond repair" suggests that queerness itself is, has become, or can be a state of irreparability: that it must bear the burden of histories and structures of violence from which there is no final redress. Such an account would require a reinscription of the satisfaction, if not pleasure, we receive from the survival of queer forms of life within a nexus of lives marked by past, ongoing, and potential experiences of irretrievable loss, dread, and death. On the other hand, “queer beyond repair” also suggests that there is, can be, or must be a queerness beyond repair. It evokes potentiality: a queerness that is more than the making of room to maneuver, a reinvestment in a politics of transformation, if not the unmaking of a world in which survival—bare survival—has become, for so many, a desirable condition. This queerness insists on forms of reinvention, if not defiance, in excess of the states of decay we have inherited or the symptoms of disrepair we have learned to uncover.

The double meaning of “beyond repair” demands a questioning of deeply held convictions, at once political and theoretical, around amelioration and suspicion, hope and hopelessness, positivity and negativity, and the embrace or rejection of modes of living on made possible and held captive by damaged and damaging worlds--all of which were part of this year's symposium.

The symposium's size swelled once again in 2016, with an additional panel held during each of the concurrent sessions, though was still anchored by a keynote lecture, this year featuring Kathryn Bond Stockton, "Impure Thoughts and All They Birth: What Does the Dildo of the Future Look Like?" as well as a plenary session with EriC A. Stanley and Craig Willse.



Queer Speculations: The Eighth Annual DC Queer Studies Symposium - April 17, 2015

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. The 2015 symposium invited discussions about the speculation about queer bodies, objects, feelings, pasts, futures, utopias, dystopias, and transformations.

The daylong series of events included paper sessions with presentations by faculty, as well as both graduate and undergraduate students. In addition, a plenary featuring Ramzi Fawaz and Shanté Paradigm Smalls was held in the afternoon. The day culminated with Juana María Rodríguez's keynote lecture, "Feeling Queerly, Knowing Otherwise."

For the first time in the symposium's history, the number of panelists for each session was increased in order to allow for a greater number of participants.

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Queer Initmacies: The Seventh Annual DC Queer Studies Symposium - April 25, 2014


Same-sex lovers touch. Or build a network of ties and commitments based on something other than biological kinship. These are queer intimacies. Trans people navigate a labyrinth of state regulations and religio-cultural codes concerning proper gender conduct in order to craft livable lives. Young LGBT African-American activists take to the streets, the pews, and their kitchen tables to organize support in the black community for a referendum affirming the right to same-sex marriage. These close encounters of bodies, church, community, and state are also queer intimacies. The 2014 symposium focused on what happens to queer intimacy as the legal and social status of LGBT people and same-sex relationships undergoes change, in the US and throughout the world.

In response to yet another increase in the number of strong proposals received, the program was expanded beyond what was offered in prior years to accomodate additional presentations by faculty and graduate students. Then in the afternoon a faculty plenary featured Scott Herring and Sharon Holland, with a response by David Mitchell. The keynote speaker, Katherine Franke, closed the day's events with her lecture, "Gay Marriage 2.0: Divorce."

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Debilitating Queerness: The Sixth Annual DC Queer Studies Symposium - April 5, 2013

Queer theory in the twenty-first century has focused on a wide range of bodies and minds in a variety of states: failing, wounded, scarred, damaged, infected or infectious, diseased, mad, depressed, or traumatized. Only recently, however, has this focus engaged thickly with disability theory, making a crip turn to what has been described as “questions of bodily capacity, debility, disability, precarity, and populations” by Jasbir Puar, the 2013 symposium keynote speaker. Debilitating Queerness aimed to both highlight and extend this turn.

The daylong series of events included paper sessions with presentations by faculty, as well as both graduate and undergraduate students. In addition, a plenary of faculty featuring Karen Nakamura, Margaret Price, and Abby Wilkerson presented their work in the afternoon. The day culminated with Jasbir Puar's lecture, "Bodies With New Organs: Becoming Trans, Becoming Disabled."

An unprecedented number of proposals received for this year's symposium spurred an expanded number of paper sessions, with an even greater variety of institutions represented than in past years.

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The Fifth Annual DC Queer Studies Symposium - April 20, 2012
Delany at 70: Honoring the Life and Work of Samuel R. Delany


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Born April 1, 1942 and raised in Harlem, Samuel R. "Chip" Delany has enjoyed a long career as a highly regarded writer of science fiction, fantasy, and memoir as well as critical work in literary, African American, urban, and LGBT/queer studies. This 2012 symposium was a daylong series of conversations in critical queer, race, and gender studies inspired by Delany's boldly imaginative, multifaceted oeuvre. Events included paper sessions with presentations by faculty and graduate students. In addition, a plenary of faculty featuring Jayna Brown, Kevin Floyd, Jordana Rosenberg, and a response by Tavia Nyong’o presented their work in the afternoon. The day culminated in Samuel R. Delany reading from his novel, Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders, and engaging in conversation with Robert Reid-Pharr. This year's symposium continued to follow the trend of not only an increase in the number of registrants, but also in the variety of institutions and organizations represented from across the nation, and even internationally.


The Fourth Annual DC Queer Studies Symposium - April 29, 2011


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Continuing with the one-day format, the 2011 symposium again began with quickanddirty VII: A Graduate Queer Studies Symposium. As a testament to the multi- and interdisciplinarity of LGBT/Queer/Sexuality Studies, there were eleven different programs represented by this year's twelve presenters. The afternoon began with the event, Queer Poets Read, featuring Julie R. Enszer and Jason Schneiderman, followed by a faculty paper session. Finally, the keynote address featured Regina Kunzel, "In Treatment: The Queer Archive of Mid-20th-Century Psychiatry"


The Third Annual DC Queer Studies Symposium - April 23, 2010


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In 2010 the symposium schedule was condensed to a one-day conference. The morning featured quickanddirty VI: A Graduate Queer Studies Symposium, which for the first time included presenters beyond those in the Washington Metropolitan Area. The afternoon featured a stage reading of jazz/blue/prayer poems and performance stories, written and presented by Sharon Bridgforth. Then the day concluded with the keynote address by Karen Tongson, "Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries." Though this year's symposium lacked the more intimate faculty paper sessions of past years, registration once again increased, demonstrating the vitality of the field.


The Second Annual DC Queer Studies Symposium - April 17-18, 2009


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Similar to the inaugural symposium event, this one was kicked-off by quickanddirty V: A Graduate Queer Studies Symposium. Graduate students representing schools in the Consortium of Universities in the Washington Metropolitan Area once again showed the wide variety of LGBT/Queer/Sexuality topics with which they were engaged. A new feature added to this year's symposium was the event, Queer Writers Read, featuring Regie Cabico, Reginald Harris, and Richard McCann. The keynote featured Judith Halberstam, "Queer Negativities." The second day of the symposium highlighted the work of area faculty through three different faculty paper sessions. The spirit of exchange and comraderie was high as we gathered on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots of June 1969, honoring the legacies and continuing to examine the still unfinished work of Stonewall.


The DC Queer Studies Symposium - April 17-18, 2008


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As the first public event for DC Queer Studies, this two-day conference fostered engagement with LGBT/Queer/Sexuality Studies in various ways. It began with quickanddirty IV: A Graduate Queer Studies Symposium, providing the opportunity for graduate students from American University, Georgetown University, the George Washington University, and University of Maryland to present their work. The keynote event followed, featuring Roderick A. Ferguson,“To Be Fluent in Each Other’s Narratives: Surplus Populations and Queer of Color Activism." On day two we gathered in a more intimate setting for faculty paper sessions as well as roundtable discussions on keywords in sexuality studies. Registration for this day's events filled to capacity! As a whole the symposium was a success, fulfilling the mission to discuss new works in LGBT/Queer/Sexuality Studies and to exchange, support and cultivate new ways of engaging with LGBT/Queer/Sexuality Studies across the disciplines and across institutions.