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Queer Theory emerged in the 90s as a radical critique of feminist, gay and lesbian studies. It problematizes the constitutions of gender and sexual identities as binary, separated and fixed categories (both as theoretical stance and as a social construction), and challenges sexual epistemologies and ontologies. Queer Theory as an approach, a post-structural methodology and political-ethical standpoint, acts as a powerful tool for subverting and disrupting sexual-social-political-economic order(s)/structures, introducing critical frameworks such as heteronormativity, homonormativity, and recently homonationalism into the study of sexual politics. Among the key thinkers associated with Queer Theory(ies) are Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Leo Bersani, Michael Warner, David Halperin, Elizabeth Grosz, Jabsir Puar, Sara Ahmed, Lisa Duggan, and others.

Queer Theory has become popular in gender, feminist and women studies, and is increasingly incorporated to other disciplines such cultural studies, sociology, history, colonial and postcolonial studies, and politics and international studies. In our research group, we try to unpack the following questions: What is Queer Theory? What do we mean by ‘Queer’, ‘Queering’ and ‘Queer(ness)’? How can we understand gender / sex / sexuality / identities / bodies / affect / interdisciplinarity / and power in queer terms? How can we differentiate between feminist and gay and lesbian studies and queer studies? How and in what ways can Queer Theory enrich our understanding and analysis of sexual politics, identities, the politics of belonging, and the discursive and material constitutions of the gendered/sexed/classed/racialized queer subject.

Against the growing popularity of this approach and increasing usage in different fields, we will also ask whether Queer Theory has been de-radicalized and de-politicized? Is critical theory moving towards Post-Queer Theory? And what are the possible futures for Queer Theory?

Lana Tatour