lgbtq caucus -- Call for proposals

building killjoy survival kits: trans and queer resilience in necropolitical times

Towards the end of Living a Feminist Life (2017), Sara Ahmed, in deep intellectual and political conversation with women and queer of color feminist thinkers, proposes a number of objects (both practical and conceptual) to be placed in what she calls a “killjoy survival kit.” These objects range from life-reorienting books to “other killjoys” and “permission notes” for those moments where you need to take a break or refuse to do something you find emotionally or politically draining, in order to keep burnout from taking hold. In our contemporary moment, characterized by the ascendancy of white supremacy in the form of “alt-right” uprisings, a federal administration working to systematically roll back each rights-oriented gain made by trans activists, not to mention the ongoingness of forms of administrative violence encountered by trans, queer, and gender non-conforming folk in interactions with myriad institutions - governmental offices, medical offices, jails, prisons, youth detention facilities, shelters, campuses – now is the time to round out our killjoy survival kits. 

This panel builds on the flourishing of trans and queer scholarship focused on the question of necropolitics. This concept, coined by Achille Mbembe (2001, 2003) and taken up richly and differentially within contemporary queer and trans theory (Haritaworn and Snorton 2013, Haritaworn, Kuntsman, and Posocco 2014, Lamble 2013, Shakhsari 2014, Travers and Shearman 2017, Rucovsky 2015) indexes the exposure to violence, debility, and death that shapes non-normative queer and trans lives.  It also, importantly, calls attention to how this vulnerability and violence is mobilized by transnormative and homonormative subjects in order to support political projects that don’t adequately address the needs of the most marginalized members of trans and queer communities, or those folks who disidentify with trans and queer community while still, perhaps, being claimed or mobilized by those communities.

Assuming trans and queer necropolitics as deeply informing our current conjunctures, the SEWSA LGBTQ Caucus seeks intellectual and activist work that foregrounds strategies of resilience, highlighting the love-labors we engage and the challenges we encounter while devising methods of survival and flourishing that redress, ameliorate, or exceed the systems implicated in the maldistribution of life chances that differentially impact our lives.  

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • utopias/transformative future visions
  • grassroots efforts to develop resilient communities
  • the development of alternative justice and accountability frameworks
  • public health and the politics of medical access\
  • developing a killjoy practice
  • friendship, kinship, kithship, belonging
  • decarceral and decolonial politics, projects, and tactics
  • self-care

Please submit abstracts of 200 words no later than November 15, 2017 to Hilary Malatino, the LGBTQ Caucus chair, at sewsa_lgbtq@googlegroups.com. The program in Women’s Leadership at Clemson University is pleased to host the 2018 SEWSA Annual Conference. The theme for the conference is “Transformations: Leading Change,” and it will take place at Clemson University from March 1-3, 2018.