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CFP: Queer Representation: Pasts, Presents, Futures

Deadline: March 8th, 2021

Event: May 11th-14th, 2021 (Online)

Keynote Speakers: Prof Richard Dyer (King's College London) and Dr Abigail De Kosnik (UC Berkeley)

Institution: The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh

This conference aims to examine how LGBTQ representation has changed through time, continues to evolve in the present, and what role it might play in the future. It draws on recent developments in queer on-screen representation - ranging from the increased focus on transgender and queer of colour protagonists in series such as Pose (2018, FX-), Transparent (2014-2019, Amazon Prime), Vida (2018-2020, Starz) and Orange is the New Black (2013-2019, Netflix), to depictions of queer characters in children's programmes such as Cartoon Network's Steven Universe (2013-) - in order to trace how LGBTQ media comments on both the current state of queer rights, as well as the possibility of queer futurity (Edelman 2004; Muñoz 2009). At the same time, it builds on work done on queer archives and histories (Cvetkovich 2003; Castiglia and Reed 2012; Dunn 2016; De Kosnik 2016) in order to question how queer lives were once commemorated, how these memories live on, and how representation has changed from then to now.

We invite presentations on queer art, film, television, and literature, as well as social media and digital scholarship. The conference will work to represent a multiplicity of queer experiences, spanning divergent historical and geographical areas of representation, as well as the plurality of ideas of what it means to identify as queer today, and what this identification might look like in the future. We build here on work looking at the evolution of LGBTQ representation in diverse contexts, as well as notions of transnational queer representation (Schoonover and Galt 2016) and regionality (Yue 2014; Chiang and Wong 2016). With our inclusive focus on transmedia representations of queerness, we hope to examine narratives of sex, identity, politics, family and gender across a broad range of contexts, mediums and artforms. We ask how queer representation has changed, what versions of queerness we remember today, and how that can manifest in our hopes or fears for the future. Through investigating which narratives of queerness persist, and how representational patterns have changed, we hope we may learn about creative spaces in which queerness can thrive.

We invite abstracts dealing with different examples of LGBTQ representation, as well as presentations which analyse the overall evolution of queer representation in specific mediums and contexts. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • the evolution of queer on-screen representation in film, television, literature, gaming, etc.

  • different regional and national representations of queerness

  • the past, present and future of queer intersectionality

  • representations of queer histories and memory

  • queer adaptation

  • queerness and queering in media fandom

  • queer representation in different countries and contexts

  • different conceptualisations of what it means to represent queerness

  • The evolutions of homonormativity and homonationalism

  • queer futurity and the future of queer representation

  • queer archives (physical and digital)

  • queer online space and digital new media

If you would like to be considered for the conference, please email us your abstract (150-200 words) and bionote by March 8th to The conference format will be more relaxed and informal as a virtual event. We anticipate panels consisting of participants introducing their research topic with a 10-minute presentation, before a round-table discussion on the theme of the panel. With this in mind, we invite you to submit 5 keywords or themes along with your abstract.

Conference attendance will be free of charge but will require booking in advance.

Organisers: Dr Anamarija Horvat and Dr Alice Kelly

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