So, what is Queer History Warwick?
The purpose of this group is to provide a forum for scholars – at all stages of their careers and representing a variety of self-defined identities – to discuss queer history in an intellectually rigorous but supportive context. It will do this through a series of grouped and thematic readings, events, and workshops, often suggested by members, or in collaboration with prominent groups such as Feminist History Group, the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender and the Global History and Culture Centre, dealing with LGBT+ history, theory as well as approaches and pitfalls to its writing. Sessions are organised at least on a twice-termly basis, but often there are many more events - please check below for details!
Lucy Mooring - University of Warwick
Nowt As Queer As Folk
I am currently an undergraduate at the University of Warwick. I study sociology and this summer am completing an URSS scheme on the intersections and realities of Queer women and rural space. I identify as queer and am from rural North Yorkshire. Therefore, I feel personally as well as academically invested in my research. I am interested in queer biopolitics/biopower and the relationship between queer bodies and the state. I am also attracted to work on the politics of space, and environment, sapphic culture throughout the 19th century broadly, and queering and feminising political economy.
Queer culture is commonly reproduced through urban, male culture that neglects the experiences of queer Rural women. As ‘invisible lives’ By Martha Barron Barret argues; “there is no gathering for gay women. The isolation is overwhelming’ (p.76) However, her research understands the complexity of individual experiences. It is contrasted to ‘one of the reasons we get away with a lot is that people just don’t believe there could be lesbians in Oklahoma. Out of sight, out of mind.” (p.16). I aim to understand the intersections between ‘queer’ and ‘rural’ through empirical investigation of women’s historical and contemporary lives. My methods combine archival research with questionnaires and interviews. The archival research involves examining evidence such as ‘Dyke Dreams’ from Glasgow Women’s Library. The questionnaires evoked 100 respondents and in-depth interviews were created from this. Queer history and research have been supressed and erased- with many of the publications having to self- publish and having restricted circulation due to homophobic publishing laws- this is prominent during the section 28 era. My paper presents emergent themes from the research. These include how queer women navigate rural isolation- through subcultures such as Riot Grrrl and through independent publishing, and how some even thrive in the secrecy. This research was done in accordance and support of URSS at the University of Warwick.
Dr Monica Pearl
7th May 2020 - 2pm-4pm - Venue: R0.12
Details to be announced.
Aidan Norrie - University of Warwick
When the King is/is not a Woman: Queering Elizabeth I
Wednesday 20th May 2020 - 3-5pm - Venue: R3.41
Aidan Norrie is a Chancellor’s International Scholar in the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the University of Warwick. Aidan is the editor, with Marina Gerzic, of From Medievalism to Early-Modernism: Adapting the English Past(Routledge, 2019), and, with Lisa Hopkins, of Women on the Edge in Early Modern Europe(Amsterdam University Press, 2019). Aidan’s research focuses on the posthumous legacy of Elizabeth I, and in addition to their forthcoming monograph,Elizabeth I and the Old Testament: Biblical Analogies and Providential Rule(Arc Humanities Press), they have written multiple essays on cinematic and televisual depictions of Elizabeth.
Elizabeth I is one of England’s most famous monarchs. This fame (or notoriety) is largely the result of her depiction as the Virgin Queen—after all, she is considered unusual for neither marrying nor having children. Few monarchs are so inseparably intertwined with their gender, or more accurately, the heteronormative and patriarchal view of their gender. For her part, Elizabeth was an expert in the performative aspect of gender, playing up her femininity when it suited her, while also not being afraid to assert her masculine side when the need arose. As such, I suggest that throughout the entirety of her reign, Elizabeth asserted her gender identity in ways that today could be described as genderfluid. Using genderfluidity as a lens through which to view Elizabeth, we can better understand why she was able to publically call herself both king and queen, prince and sovereign, which was central not only to her own conception of her role as sovereign, but also to how her subjects viewed her. No other English monarch has blurred the arbitrary gender binary like Elizabeth did; no other female monarch publically declared that they had ‘the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too’. By analysing Elizabeth’s reign through the lens of genderfluidity, the truly genderless exercise of sovereignty in early modern England is made clear, and scholars can stop using Elizabeth’s gender as a way to demonstrate her apparent alterity.
Carlie Pendleton - Goldsmiths, University of London
Fattening Queer History, Queering Fat History: The London Fat Women's Conference of 1989
Thursday 28th May 2020 - 2-4pm - Venue: R0.03
My name is Carlie Pendleton and I am a first year MA student in Queer History at Goldsmiths. My research interests are centred around the intersections of fat activism and queer activism in modern Britain, constructions of fatness and queerness in both the early modern and modern periods, and the ways in which fat queers queer identities.
Where are the fat queers? This is something I’ve wondered time and again both in general as a fat queer person and more specifically as a historian. How doubly pleased I was to then discover the National Fat Women’s Conference held in London by the London Fat Women’s Group on March 18, 1989. Founded on principles of radical lesbian feminism, the LFWG represented the epicentre of fat, queer political activism in London in the 1980s-early 1990s. Born out of the necessity to combat fat oppression within both lesbian and heterosexual feminist spaces, the National Fat Women’s Conference represents the apotheosis of fat activism in 20th century Britain. Furthermore the workshops offered by the conference, specifically those for fat lesbians, demonstrate the interplay between fat and queer identities during the event. And yet the conference is at best an obscure footnote in modern feminist history. Why?
Unlike other feminist intersections, fat is still not taken seriously as a category of analysis due to both its characterization as mutable, and the racist, colonialist underpinnings of fatphobia that persist in western cultures. As a result, there is a serious dearth of scholarship on the history of fat activism and the many forms it took during the 20th century. Fat activism does not have the historical consciousness that other queer and feminist movements do, making it that much more difficult for present-day scholars and activists to dismantle the mechanics of oppression that afflict fat people on a systemic level. I argue that in order to answer these questions, to solve these problems, and to recover these fat histories, a queer approach is necessary.
Carlie has provided us with an extensive list of suggested reading so feel free to browse at your leisure. These texts are not mandatory reading for the talk.
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