So genderqueer is a gender identity. It’s pretty individual to every person. In general, for me, it means it’s non-binary. It’s not particularly male or female. It exists between this liminal space; between masculinity and femininity and somewhere outside of patriarchy. It’s about finding a different expression that is closely aligned to difference – the real appreciation and love of difference. In that way, I identify across different intersections. It’s not like I can throw away my identity as a woman, because it’s what I’ve been most socialised in, in the way that we are socialised into being things and maybe, younger people will eventually not be so violated by. It’s a constant state of war with patriarchy and the way in which we are all made to pay these massive debts to capitalism, and the way in which we’re asked to violate others.
– Dean Hutton
Pascale Casanova (2004) proposes that the literary universe, although not entirely free from the limitations imposed by nation-states, has its own republics, capitals and provinces – in other words, its own central and peripheral spaces defined primarily by the literary capital and literary value of a language. Such capital and value can ‘increase’ through both the translation of works into smaller languages (such as Zulu or Afrikaans) and the repositioning of particular authors.
The fiction of Koos Prinsloo (1957-1994) is a cogent example of how such literary capital works; despite a renewed interest in his writing, scholarship on his work remains confined to the relatively insular field of Afrikaans Literary Studies.
Prinsloo’s fiction, firmly situated in the patriarchal and segregationist political actualities of 1980s South Africa can be repositioned as a form of early Global South engaged literature. This, in addition to translating his work, might offer ways of increasing his standing in the world republic of letters, leading to new audiences, re-introductions and re-imaginings.
To address how such a repositioning might be attempted, we invite contributions on the following themes around the varied meanings of ‘repositioning’:
While the first day of the conference will focus on a repositioning of the fiction of Koos Prinsloo within the world republic of letters, the second day encourages discussions and explorations around the intersections between contemporary queer experiences/theory and narratives of colonial history, the actualities of postcolonial life and the current drive towards decoloniality.
For Day 2, we would like to invite papers/presentations/panels/performances that address any of the following:
To suggest a paper, presentation, panel or performance for Day 1 or Day 2, please submit an abstract of 300-400 words to Chantelle Gray van Heerden (Institute for Gender Studies, Unisa) at email@example.com and Wemar Strydom (Department of Afrikaans and Theory of Literature, Unisa) at firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 December 2017.
Papers presented will be considered for a March 2019 special issue of the Journal of Literary Studies. However, while we encourage authors to join the conference before submitting articles, this is not a prerequisite for being considered for the special issue.
Authors are also invited to submit full articles for special edition consideration between 1 November 2017 and 1 April 2018. Articles of an academic nature should be between 5 000 and 8 000 words; non-academic contributions between 1 000 and 2 000 words. Articles should be formatted according to the JLS style guide, available here. Articles are to be submitted directly to the JLS site, with registration details available here.
The February Lectures conference is open to anyone with an interest in the subject matter. The full fee for the two days (which includes coffee/tea, lunch, and the conference dinner) is R1 200 for affiliated academics, R700 for salaried persons not affiliated with a university, R600 for students (on presentation of student card) and R0-R300 for anyone with limited financial means (nobody will be excluded for lack of funds; please contact us if you fall under this category).
To register, email Chantelle Gray van Heerden (email@example.com) and Wemar Strydom (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 15 December 2017. Please include any access, dietary or other requirements you may have, and let us know whether you would like to attend the optional half-day workshop on Saturday, 24 February 2018, entitled “Theoretical Threesomes/Menacing Ménage à Trois: Deleuze, Guattari and Queer Theory”.
Bank details: Unisa, Standard Bank account number 011554622, Sunnyside branch (branch code 010645). Reference: KP/Q Conf_Your initials_Your surname. Please email proof of payment to the organisers.
Restaurant for conference dinner
The conference dinner will be held at Geet Indian restaurant in Brooklyn on Thursday evening at 18:30.
The conference will be held in the Bamboo Auditorium in the Kgorong building at Unisa’s main campus in Preller Street, Muckleneuk, Pretoria.
Click here to view a map.
Bill Marshall is Professor of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Stirling, Scotland. His queer and cinema-related publications include monographs on Guy Hocquenghem: Beyond Gay Identity (1997), Quebec National Cinema (2001), André Téchiné (2007), and The French Atlantic: Travels in Culture and History (2009); edited books on Musicals – Hollywood and Beyond (2000), Montreal-Glasgow (2005), and the three-volume France and the Americas (2005).
Gabriel Khan is a programme policy officer for gender at the UN WFP. Prior to this, he managed the People’s Power project at Hivos South Africa, a project developing leadership and building strategies to strengthen the rights of rural communities in South Africa. His interests include the role of youth in transitional justice, using art for activism, and researching practices of gender and sexual diversity in Africa. Paper/rebuttal: Throwing a queer spanner in the works.
Prof Louise Viljoen lectures in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch at Stellenbosch University and has published extensively on Afrikaans literature, postcolonial identity and gendered spaces. Paper: The world republic of letters, translation, and Afrikaans as minor literature.
Prof Gerrit Olivier has served as head of the Wits School of Arts, and is the author of a 2008 monograph on Koos Prinsloo, Aantekeninge by Koos Prinlsoo. Paper: TBA
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.
The February Lectures conference series will take place in February each year, with a programme structure that encourages looking back (Day 1), looking forward (Day 2) and looking to theoretical practice (Day 3 workshop).
2018 at UNISA, South Africa: Day 1 focus on the queer engaged fiction of Koos Prinsloo; Day 2 focus on queer theory and decoloniality; Day 3 workshop on Deleuze, Guattari and Queer Theory.
2019’s conference (hosting university TBA) will focus on Affective Displacements, Queer Empathies (with a focus on displaced empathies in the works of Ana Kokkinos, Lauren Beukes, K. Sello Duiker, Zanele Muholi and Eben Venter).