Yearning is the word that best describes a common psychological state shared by many of us, cutting across boundaries of race, class, gender, and sexual practice. Specifically, in relation to the post-modernist deconstruction of ‘master’ narratives, the yearning that wells in the hearts and minds of those whom such narratives have silenced is the longing for critical voice.

bell hooks

Call for Papers



1.

The recent surge in scholarship on queer African visuality, which includes Images and Empires: Visuality in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa (Landau and Griffen 2002), Choreographies of African Identities: Négritude, Dance, and the National Ballet of Senegal (Castaldi 2006), and Watching While Black: Centering the Television of Black Audiences (Smith-Shomade 2012), has brought into sharp focus the queer somapolitics of body-technics-visuality-technology assemblages. In this frame, queer visuality can be understood as a new present-future philosophical and ethico-political horizon that views the body, visuality and technology as coimbricated and mutually interdependent in contemporary society.

2.

Furthermore, as Mel Y. Chen (2016, 237) argues, ‘temporality scholarship has established [that] time plays out multiply and unsteadily’, thus disrupting notions that pre-coloniality, coloniality and decoloniality are discreet. Such views, at any rate, blind us to the many and varied material-cultural entanglements spread across multiple temporal rhythms. A queer visuality, on the other hand, calls for richer, more complex understandings of temporality and subjectivity that refuse linear, flat explanations. How, then, are we to think about corporeality, queer visuality and technology without negating the problematics of the (colonial) gaze and spectatorial politics?

3.

What happens when historically excluded bodies enter visuality? What kinds of analyses are needed to disrupt linear and Eurocentric and able-ist conceptions of visualised modernity? What are the power operations on/with/through bodies, visuality and technologies and how do these converge, align or negate the body politic? In essence, what happens when ‘queer’, ‘visuality’, and ‘African’ enter the same sentence?

Call for Papers

The recent surge in scholarship on queer African visuality, which includes Images and Empires: Visuality in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa (Landau and Griffen 2002), Choreographies of African Identities: Négritude, Dance, and the National Ballet of Senegal (Castaldi 2006), and Watching While Black: Centering the Television of Black Audiences (Smith-Shomade 2012), has brought into sharp focus the queer somapolitics of body-technics-visuality-technology assemblages. In this frame, queer visuality can be understood as a new present-future philosophical and ethico-political horizon that views the body, visuality and technology as coimbricated and mutually interdependent in contemporary society.

Furthermore, as Mel Y. Chen (2016, 237) argues, ‘temporality scholarship has established [that] time plays out multiply and unsteadily’, thus disrupting notions that pre-coloniality, coloniality and decoloniality are discreet. Such views, at any rate, blind us to the many and varied material-cultural entanglements spread across multiple temporal rhythms. A queer visuality, on the other hand, calls for richer, more complex understandings of temporality and subjectivity that refuse linear, flat explanations. How, then, are we to think about corporeality, queer visuality and technology without negating the problematics of the (colonial) gaze and spectatorial politics?

Furthermore, what happens when historically excluded bodies enter visuality? What kinds of analyses are needed to disrupt linear and Eurocentric and able-ist conceptions of visualised modernity? What are the power operations on/with/through bodies, visuality and technologies and how do these converge, align or negate the body politic? In essence, what happens when ‘queer’, ‘visuality’, and ‘African’ enter the same sentence?



Abstract submission

We invite 350 word proposals for papers or panel discussions on the relation between body, visuality, and technology outlined above. Possible avenues to explore include, but are not limited to, Black Panther, The Wound/Inxeba, Kwezi, Wanuri Kahiu, Dean Hutton, Zanele Muholi, Sara Davidmann, Tania De Rozario, Bahman Mohassess, Lauren Beukes, Tiger Maremela, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. We also encourage theoretical considerations of African queer theory. Proposals can be sent to Chantelle Gray van Heerden and Wemar Strydom at februarylectures@gmail.com by 15 October 2018. The conference will be held on 28 February and 01 March 2019 on the Potchefstroom campus of Northwest University (NWU). Keynotes to be announced.



Abstract submission

We invite 350 word proposals for papers or panel discussions on the relation between body, visuality, and technology outlined above. Possible avenues to explore include, but are not limited to, Black Panther, The Wound/Inxeba, Kwezi, Wanuri Kahiu, Dean Hutton, Zanele Muholi, Sara Davidmann, Tania De Rozario, Bahman Mohassess, Lauren Beukes, Tiger Maremela, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. We also encourage theoretical considerations of African queer theory. Proposals can be sent to Chantelle Gray van Heerden and Wemar Strydom at februarylectures@gmail.com by 15 October 2018. The conference will be held on 28 February and 01 March 2019 on the Potchefstroom campus of Northwest University (NWU). Keynotes to be announced.

Registration

The February Lectures conference is open to anyone with an interest in the subject matter. Registration fee for the two days (which includes refreshments and lunch) is R1,300 for tenured academics with access to funding, R800 for non-tenured academics and salaried persons not affiliated with a university, and R350 for students (on presentation of student card). A limited number of sponsored positions are available for participants with no financial means.

Access to a shuttle service (return between Potchefstroom and Pretoria/Johannesburg on both days of the conference) has been organised at R100 per person per day. Stop points will be identified and will include UNISA Muckleneuk campus, UJ, and selected Gautrain stations.

To register, email Chantelle Gray van Heerden and Wemar Strydom at februarylectures@gmail.com by 15 October. Please indicate access, dietary or other requirements, and whether you will be making use of the shuttle service.

Keynote speakers

Mel Y Chen

Mel Y Chen is Associate Professor of Gender & Women's Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture. Mel is also an affiliate of the Center for Race and Gender, the Institute for Cognitive and Behavioral Science, the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society, and the Haas Disability Studies and LGBTQ Citizenship Research Clusters. Their research and teaching interests include queer and gender theory, animal studies, critical race theory and Asian American studies, disability studies, science studies, and critical linguistics.Chen’s 2012 book, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Duke University Press) was the winner of the Alan Bray Award from the Modern Language Association’s GL/Q Caucus).

Banele Khoza

Pretoria-based Banele Khoza (bkhz.co.za) is one of South Africa's most acclaimed young artists, with work currently showcasing at Zeitz MOCAA, in addition to a solo exhibition called Love? at Smith Studio, Cape Town. Known for his figurative abstractions through which he visualises homoerotic desire, Khoza continues to challenge gender norms.

Eben Venter

Eben Venter debuts his visual work in conjunction with his newest novel, Green as the Sky is Blue (Penguin Random House). Venter is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels, including My Beautiful Death, Trencherman and Wolf, Wolf.

Logistics

The conference will be held in the Besembos conference venue, in the NWU Potchefstroom campus library complex. Campus map to follow. Recommended guest houses:

  • https://www.macachette.co.za/
  • http://akkerlaan.co.za/
  • https://www.huystenbosch.co.za/
  • http://www.michael-angelo.co.za/

The conference dinner will be held on Thursday, 28 February, at Vida Verde restaurant, located at 78 Chris Hani street, Potchefstroom, 2520. Please note: Conference dinner at own cost. An optional outing to Snowflake artisanal food fair and market has been organised for Friday evening, 1 March.

The February Lectures conference series

February has been designated LGBTQI* History Month, and the February Lectures conference series was initiated to encourage academic engagement with the intersection between queer theory and the Global South lived experience.

As such, we are especially interested in creating spaces of exploration and discussion on both the past and the future of queer writing, theory, arts, archiving, theatre, translation and film in South Africa, but also in/on/of the Global South.

Current and upcoming February Lectures conferences

The February Lectures conference series takes place in February each year, with a programme structure that encourages a recognition of historicity, futurity and theoretical practice.

The first conference took place in 2018 at UNISA, South Africa and focused on the queer engaged fiction of Koos Prinsloo, queer theory and decoloniality.

The next conference takes place in 2019 and once again we encourage participants to think about the ways in which historicity, futurity and theoretical practice intersect. In particular we will be looking at African visualities and the queer somapolitics of body-technics-visuality-technology assemblages.