Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Association for Queer Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Materiality
Secondary Theme: Identity and Equity
The goal of this session is to engage with questions and debates in the discipline of anthropology around the production, elasticity, and density of space by engagements with queer theory. At the nexus between queer theory and queer spaces, papers on this panel will discuss: contestations of boundaries and borders; spaces of inclusion, exclusion, and nonspaces/voids; architecture and design; aesthetics, affect, and phenomenological encounters; beyond place-making in urban imaginaries; and queer displacements.
While understandings of place as community, milieu, and country have long been the terrain of geographers and historians, the “spatial turn” in social theory and anthropology has helped usher in new intellectual itineraries. Scholarship on the production of space have typically been concerned with capitalist, material productions of “place” (Harvey 2006) and demarcations of otherness (Foucault 1967) that frame the real/perceived architectures of boundaries and borders as technologies that define and demarcate particular inclusions and exclusions. However, anthropological scholarship has also shown that boundaries and borders can be fluid and contradictory, challenged and changed by social presence (Cons 2016), and act as narrators of particular histories (Gordillo 2014).
What would it mean to push further boundaries of space? How can queer theory better attune and account for spatial practices? Scholars of gender and sexuality have long shown how productions of space are dependent upon heteronormative and teleological time references (Fabian 1983, Butler 2004, Boellstorff 2008). In this vein, they also have critically highlighted the histories of urban encounters and place-making, and critiqued trajectories that ﬁgure cities as the ultimate locations for queer authenticity (Halberstam 2005). Aside from queer and feminist unpackings of spatial terms such as home, diaspora, reservation, nation (Blackwood 1998), and borderlands (Anzaldua 1987), what does it look like for queer and gender theory to be applied to ethnographic practices and theories about other architectures? How might it be a lens to see anew spaces that craft everyday and not self-evidently “queer” relations to one another?