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[Commlist] CFP Worldmaking around the world
Tue Sep 10 21:46:38 GMT 2019
Worldmaking around the world: rethinking the intersections of popular
media, translation and LGBTQ+ activism across cultures
Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, University of Exeter. 17-18 April 2020.
Keynote Speakers: Jack Halberstam, Columbia University
Ryan Powell, Indiana University
This conference aims to rethink the ways in which popular media, in the
forms of film and TV, offer material for LGBTQ+ worldmaking through
translation. Popular media have long been understood as a site that is
negotiated by readers and viewers (Fiske 1989) and have been considered
‘Goods to Think with’ (Martin 2017). Popular media therefore offer space
for developing queer readings and for thinking queerness within texts
that may themselves not be queer. Queer readings of popular cultural
texts have read back into them gay, lesbian, bi and trans characters
that have been previously overlooked or minimised (e.g. White 1999). In
addition, there has been a massive growth in LGBT+ representation on TV
and in the cinema in the Anglophone world since the 1990s (Mennel 2012:
113-116; Schoonover and Galt 2016: 18). TV shows like Will and Grace,
Queer as Folk (in both its British and American versions) and The L-Word
featured out-gay and lesbian characters and were part of the development
of a wider queer visibility in popular culture, although queer
characters had been present in earlier TV and film, though seldom in
central roles (e.g. the gay best friend).
Such changes in the visibility of LGBTQ+ characters remain limited,
however, by forms of censorship in many countries. This has led, in some
cases, to the formation of LGBTQ+ translation groups that are committed
to subtitling and translating foreign queer materials. At the same time,
international circulation of texts has increased in recent decades, due
to forms of post-broadcast media such as DVDs, blu-rays and streaming,
as well as through informal distribution via systems such as bittorrent.
It’s now common to find South Asian, East Asian and European media
throughout the Anglophone world, just as it’s common to find
English-language media in the rest of the world.
This combination of official and unofficial circulation of media
highlights the importance of intercultural transfer and translation in
popular culture. However, with the global flows of queer media and the
ideas about queerness and LGBTQ+ lifestyles inherent in them, there is a
risk that local forms of LGBTQ+ cultures are erased or elided through
the importation of foreign ideas and practices, or, in the Global North,
that they become exotic materials for international consumption. How do
forms of LGBTQ+ worldmaking avoid or negotiate these questions of
cultural appropriation and encounter? How do forms of queer reading and
translation differ in the Global North and Global South? Indeed, given
the Anglophone origins and history of the term ‘queer’, recent research
has questioned the appropriateness and use of this term in other
cultures and contexts (Domínguez Ruvalcalba 2016, Schoonover and Galt
2018) and analysing global practices related to concepts of the ‘queer’,
especially in terms of the use of imported media, would help to decentre
queer theory from its typical focus on USAmerican and Anglophone contexts.
The status of popular media has also been changing in recent decades,
gaining more and more cultural capital and prestige. It has become
easier to access older forms of popular media, through a combination of
specialist TV channels like SyFy, home media releases and streaming.
Once ephemeral texts are now archived, curated and translated by LGBTQ+
fans and/or activists around the world to understand the past and
present of queer culture. This new availability of texts from across
different locations and historical moments, however, has an effect of
flattening out their historicity and cultural specificity, translating
them into the present time and place. At such a juncture, it is
imperative to reevaluate historical practices of worldmaking and LGBTQ+
community and the current trends through and within translation
(understood in the sense of both linguistic and cultural translation),
especially with regard to terms and concepts that would not be
recognisable to ‘queer’ communities from other periods and locations.
The conference will explore, therefore, the intersections between global
queer media flows (especially in relation to translation), popular film
and TV, queer worldmaking and LGBTQ+ activism in order to question
assumptions about the relationships between popular media, queer culture
and the hegemonic position of current Anglophone cultures in reflections
on queer practices.
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
• Translation of/within queer media
• Cultural appropriation in global queer media flows
• The queer potential of popular film and TV
• Queer Fandom and translation
• Local sexual knowledges and global queer culture
• Historical approaches to queer worldmaking
• Queerness and popular media in the Global South
• South-South and South-North queer dialogues and translation
• Piracy and informal economies of queer media
• Changing popular culture and transcultural queer readings
• The queer popular archive across cultures
• Censorship, queer media and queer activism
• Translation and global queer culture
• Neoliberalism and the commodification of queer culture
We welcome proposals for original papers of 20 minutes that address the
themes of the conference from scholars working across a range of
disciplines. Please submit abstracts of ca. 300 words and brief bionotes
of ca. 50 words to the organisers. The deadline for proposals is 1
Proposals and queries should be sent to the organisers, Ting Guo
((t.guo /at/ exeter.ac.uk)) and Jonathan Evans ((jonathan.evans /at/ port.ac.uk)).
This conference is part of the AHRC funded project ‘Translating for Change’.
Further information about the event can be found on the project website:
Domínguez Ruvalcaba, Héctor (2016) Translating the Queer: Body Politics
and Transnational Conversations. London: Zed.
Fiske, John (1989) Understanding Popular Culture. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.
Martin, Fran (2017) ‘Girls Who Love Boys’ Love: BL as Goods to Think
with in Taiwan’ in Boys’ Love, Cosplay and Androgynous Idols, ed. by
Maud Lavin, Ling Yang and Jing Jamie Zhao. Hong Kong: Hong Kong
University Press, pp. 195-221.
Mennel, Barbara (2012) Queer Cinema: Schoolgirls, Vampires and Gay
Cowboys. London: Wallflower.
Schoonover, Karl and Rosalind Galt (2016) Queer Cinema in the World.
Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
White, Patricia (1999) Uninvited: Classical Hollywood Cinema and Lesbian
Representability. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
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