Since the moment of the cultural turn, historians have become interested in sexuality as a subject and an object of analysis. On an intellectual level, this has occurred alongside the development of a burgeoning literature on queer theory in philosophy, critical theory and sociology. It has also occurred contiguously to a repositioning of LGBT+ identifying people in broader society; marked by a greater visibility of, and increasing diminution of legal discrimination against, those in non-heterosexually-exclusive relationships. Universities have not been insulated from these social changes and, at least within the western orb, there are a greater number of LGBT scholars, sometimes working explicitly on questions of sexuality and gender, sometimes on completely divergent themes. This acceptance has mainstreamed LGBT discourse and ideas but has brought with it unintended consequences. How can the radical heritage of earlier ‘gay rights’ movements be retained in an era of tacit acceptance in a neoliberal framework? In what ways should researchers, and historians in particular, interpret and interpolate their own and others’ identities within their work? More significantly, does the apparent self-congratulatory openness towards (and acceptance of) LGBT+ identifying individuals within the (western) Academy erase on-going struggles for equality in other parts of the globe; and what should the response of historians be to these developments elsewhere? Even as we are attentive to our academic location, we engage with critical non-western interventions on queer studies that has a significant bearing on all historians. The purpose of this reading group is to provide a forum for scholars – at all stages of their careers and representing a variety of self-defined identities – to discuss these issues in an intellectually rigorous but supportive context. It will do this through a series of grouped and thematic readings, often suggested by members, or in collaboration with prominent groups such as Feminist History and the Global History and Culture Centre, dealing with LGBT+ history, theory as well as approaches and pitfalls to its writing. Sessions are organised on a twice-termly basis, along with joint seminars. We hope this group to be able to contribute fruitfully on ways to queer the archive and other spaces inhabited by historians.
Summer Term Events:
'Queering the Archive, Archiving the Queer', 6 June, 2018, Joint Reading session with the Feminist History Group, 1-2 pm, Venue: H0.58
We will be discussing two articles (and an intro) from a special issue of the Radical History Review on 'Queering Archives', Issue 120 (Fall 2014).
For any query, please contact: Somak Biswas, S.Biswas.email@example.com