Call for abstracts: Queer Death Studies Reader. Edited by Nina Lykke, Marietta Radomska and Tara Mehrabi

The field of Queer Death Studies

The planned reader will gather a wide range of contributions to the field of Queer Death Studies (QDS). This is an emerging, transdisciplinary field of study which takes research on death, dying, and mourning in new directions, inspired by feminist, posthumanist, decolonial, anti-racist, queer, trans, body- and affect-theoretical scholarship, art and activism (Radomska, Mehrabi and Lykke 2020). What distinguishes QDS from conventional Death Studies such as death sociology or anthropology of death is an overall critical focus on the framing of death and extinction in the contemporary world through Anthropocene necropolitics (Mbembe 2003, Lykke 2019) and necropowers of post/colonialism, racial and extractivist capitalism. Death is approached as an ethico-political issue that is embedded in global power structures. QDS pays attention to systematic, necropolitical productions of death, in dialogue with ethico-political critiques emerging from political movements for social, environmental and planetary justice and change. QDS is also based on critiques of the dichotomous divides, characterising Western modernity, and is marked out through a critical focus on normativities and exclusionary notions of the human, casting the death of those who differ from the normative human subject in terms of gender, racialisation, migration status, class, geopolitical situatedness, able-bodiedness, and species as less grievable or disposable and not counting at all (Butler 2004). In short, QDS aligns itself with critiques of the intra-acting multiplicity of hierarchising divides between appropriate and in/appropriate/d others (Minh-ha 1989), articulated by social, environmental and planetary justice movements.

The Call

With this call, we invite abstracts from researchers, students, artists and activists who see their research and activities as aligned with critiques of the necropowers operating in the contemporary world, and who want to contribute to queering, decolonising and posthumanising death and the onto-epistemololgies and politics conventionally framing death.

QUEERING, DECOLONISING AND POSTHUMANISING

The verbform, queering, which we use here, encompasses a wide range of meanings. It refers to (1) open-ended deconstructing of normativities and processes of normalisation in various forms, as well as (2) undoing of heteropatriarchy, heteronormativity, binary gender and sexualities governed by reproductive biopowers or, in other words, the normative heterosexual matrix. Queering death is thus on the one hand understood as a critical strange-making, and defamiliarising, which may imply affirmative openings of other horizons than Christian and Cartesian dualist approaches to death, for example a focus on the vibrant entanglement of growing and decomposing (Radomska 2017; Lykke 2022). On the other hand, queering means critically focusing on the ways in which misogyny, trans- and queerphobia lead to social as well as physical death, and how violence and hate crimes towards non-normative individuals seek to render their lives and deaths non-grievable (Puar 2007; Chen 2012; Snorton 2017). Together with this broad spectrum of meanings, we also want to emphasise that queering should be understood in its intersections with decolonising and posthumanising efforts

Decolonising death involves critically dismantling the violent necropowers of colonisation, racial and extractivist capitalism, which for centuries have made death become ”life’s quiet companion” (Lehman 1997) for racialised and indigenous people worldwide, as well as confronting the over-arching racisms which continue to produce (physical, social and cultural) death along racialised lines. Moreover, decolonising death signals a turn towards pluritopic hermeneutics (Tlostanova and Mignolo 2009), i.e. hermeneutics which do not universalise Western modern frameworks, and which reevaluate indigenous philosophies, cosm-ontologies and sensibilities. In terms of life/death thresholds, this implies critically-affirmatively shifting the meanings of death, for example, substituting conceptualisations and imaginaries of death as a final endpoint within a chrononormative linear temporality, and instead opting for understandings, situated in geo- and corpo-political frameworks outside of Western modernity (e.g. Smith 1999; Anzaldua 2015).

Posthumanising death refers to the systematic problematisation of the planetary-scale mechanisms of annihilation of the more-than-human world in their ontological, epistemological and ethico-political dimensions. It involves critical analyses of the human/nonhuman divide and power differentials that have allowed for the reduction of the nonhuman to mere resource and instrument for human endeavours. Furthermore, the posthumanising move entails unpacking philosophical and cultural meanings of extinction and the ways in which it fundamentally disrupts life processes in relation to time, death and generations (e.g. Rose 2012); it draws attention to environmental violence, environmental grief, as well as nonhuman death manufactured en masse through anthropocentric habits of consumption and mechanisms of extractivism.

Consequently, posthumanising death takes seriously the issues of responsibility, accountability and care for/in dying more-than-human worlds, while remaining grounded in radical critiques of human exceptionalism, and affirmative embrace of alternatives (eg. Braidotti 2013; Haraway 2016; MacCormack 2020).

Formats and deadlines:

We call for abstracts of approximately 300 words, to be accompanied by a bio-note of approximately 200 words, as well as by a title of the proposed chapter and an indication of how the chapter relates to the below main themes to be covered in the reader.

Please, send your abstract etc to ninly[at]fastmail, cc: <marietta.radomska[at]liu.se> and <Tara.Mehrabi[at]kau.se>

Abstract DEADLINE: 1st NOVEMBER, 2021

We will respond to your abstract by MID-JANUARY 2022, and foresee submissions of FIRST DRAFT CHAPTERS by August 1, 2022.

We plan a reader with around 50 contributions, including a few reprints of classics. Scholarly as well as creative and artistic contributions are welcome! We hope together with contributors to build a reader which will be significant and agenda-setting for the field

THEMATIC CLUSTERS:

*Queering Death: Rethinking life/death ecologies

*Histories of necropowers and Anthropocene necropolitics

*Decolonising death

*Posthumanising death

*Demedicalising death

*Politics and Ethics of Mourning

*Alternative Spiritual, Aesthetic and Arts Activist Approaches to Death and After-life

The International Network for Queer Death Studies

The idea for the reader grew out of the international network for Queer Death Studies, which was founded in 2016, (see https://queerdeathstudies.net/). The network has organised several workshops and an international conference at Karlstad University, Sweden, in 2019.

We have earlier published two special journal issues of Australian Feminist Studies (2020, Vol 35 (104)), and Women, Gender and Research (2019: Issue 3-4).

REFERENCES

Anzaldua, G. E. (2015), Light in the Dark/Luz en Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Reality, Spirituality, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Braidotti, R. (2013), The Posthuman, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Butler, J. (1990), Gender Trouble. Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, London, New York: Routledge.

Butler, J. (2004), Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence, New York, NY: Verso.

Chen, M. Y. (2012), Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering and Queer Affect, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Haraway, Donna (2016), Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press.

Lehman, G. (1997), ‘Life’s Quiet Companion’, in G. Carey and R. Sorenson (eds), The Penguin Book of Death, 223–232, Ringwood: Penguin Australia.

Lykke, N. (2019), ‘Making Live and Letting Die: Cancerous Bodies between Anthropocene Necropolitics and Chthulucene Kinship’, Environmental Humanities, 11 (1): 108–36.

Lykke, N (2022), Vibrant Death. A Posthuman Phenomenology of Mourning. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

MacCormack, Patricia (2020a), The Ahuman Manifesto. Activism for the End of the Anthropocene. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Mbembe, A. (2003), Necropolitics, Public Culture, 15 (1): 11–40.

Minh-ha, T. T. (1989), Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism, Bloomington and Indianapolis IN: Indiana University Press.

Puar, J. (2007), Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, Durham: Duke UP-

Radomska, M., T. Mehrabi, and N. Lykke (2020), Queer Death Studies: Death, Dying and Mourning From a Queerfeminist Perspective, Australian Feminist Studies, 35(104): 81-100.

Radomska, M. (2017), Non/living Matter, Bioscientific Imaginaries and Feminist Technoecologies of Bioart, Australian Feminist Studies, 32 (94): 377-394.

Rose, D. B. (2012), Multispecies knots of ethical time, Environmental Philosophy, 9(1): 127–140.

Shildrick, M (2020) Queering the Social Imaginaries of the Dead, Australian Feminist Studies, 35(104): 170-185.

Smith, L.T. 1999. Decolonizing Methodologies. Research and Indigenous Peoples. London and New York: Zed books.

Snorton, C.R (2017), Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Tlostanova, M. and W. Mignolo (2009), On Pluritopic Hermeneutics, Trans-Modern Thinking, and Decolonial Philosophy, Encounters, 1 (1): 11–27.

CfP: The Third International Queer Death Studies Workshop “Death and Dying in a Queer Context”

See the original post here.

The Third International Queer Death Studies Workshop “Death Matters: Death and Dying in a Queer Context”, 30-31 May 2018 Linköping University, Sweden

CALL FOR PAPERS

3qds

Queer Death Studies Network (QDSN) was officially launched in November 2016 at the G16: Swedish National Gender Research Conference in Linköping and has been vividly developing since then. The network constitutes a space for researchers, students, artists, activists, and other practitioners who critically and (self) reflexively investigate and challenge conventional normativities, assumptions, expectations, and regimes of truths that are brought to life and made evident by death, dying, and mourning.

The conventional engagements with the questions of death, dying and mourning are insufficient and reductive: they are often governed by the normative notions of the subject; interhuman and human/nonhuman bonds; family relations and communities; rituals; and finally, experiences of grief, mourning, and bereavement.  Moreover, these engagements are often embedded in constraining beliefs in life/death divides, constructed along the lines of conventional religious and/or scientific mind/body dualisms.

Against this background, QDSN serves as a site for ‘queering’ traditional ways of approaching death both as a subject of study and philosophical reflection, and as a phenomenon to articulate in artistic work or practices of mourning. Here, the notion of ‘queer’ conveys many meanings. It refers to researching and narrating death, dying and mourning in the context of queer bonds and communities, where the subjects involved/studied/interviewed and the relations they are involved in are recognised as ‘queer’. Simultaneously, the term ‘queer’ can also function as an adverb and a verb, referring thus to the processes of going beyond and unsettling (subverting, exceeding) binaries and given norms, normativities, and constraining conventions. In other words, ‘queer’ becomes both a process and a methodology that is applicable and exceeds the focus on gender and sexuality as its exclusive concerns.

During our previous workshops we have focused on the ways queer theory and queer perspectives can help us rethink death, dying, remains, afterlife, mourning and the life-death dichotomy. In other words, we have explored what ‘queer’ means and, most importantly, what it does to the question of death in its multiple incarnations and avenues.

The upcoming workshop concentrates on the notions of ‘death’ and ‘dying’ as such. What do death and dying mean? What is the relationship between death and dying? How do death and dying matter (and materialise) beyond the normative structures constitutive of ontological, epistemological, ethical, legal, and conventional religious frames? What are and what can be the onto-epistemological, ethical, cultural and legal implications of rethinking death and dying through a queer(ing) lens? And, in turn, what does focusing on and rethinking of death and dying do to queer studies? What does it do to the cultural imaginaries and practices?

The workshop will consist of individual papers (20 min), arranged in panel sessions, followed by Q&A and joint discussions. We welcome submissions from both academics and non-academics, as the event aims to mobilise transversal dialogues on the theme. If you would like to present a paper at the workshop, please, send an abstract (max 300 words), accompanied by a short bio (up to 100 words) to: tara.mehrabi [at] liu.se. Deadline EXTENDED: 18 March 2018.

The event starts on 30th May at 13:15 and ends on 31st May at 16:00 in Linköping, Sweden.

Unfortunately, the workshop is organised on a very low budget, which means that we are not able to cover the travel and accommodation costs for the speakers.

The workshop is available to everyone and there is no participant fee.

We will provide participants with coffee/tea and snacks, but dinner and lunch will be on self-paid basis.

If you would like to take part in the workshop on these (self-paying) conditions and would like to apply for an external funding to cover the travel, food and accommodation costs, we will be most happy to provide you with an official invitation letter.

Website Built with WordPress.com.

Up ↑