Call for Papers
SCS Queer Caucus
Society for Cinema Studies Conference May 24-27, 2001, Washington, D.C.
"Re-Conditioning the 'Queer': Moving-Image Theory and Culture in the Age of Global Transnationalism"
In contemporary academic discourse, "queer" has come to signify a particularly postmodern mode of socio-cultural subversion. In Eve Sedgwick's classic description, "queer" designates an "open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps, dissonances and resonances, lapses and excesses of meaning when the constituent elements of anyone's gender, of anyone's sexuality, aren't made (or can't be made) to signify monolithically: the experimental linguistic, epistemological, representational, political attaching to the very many of us who may at times be moved to describe ourselves as (among other possibilities) pushy femmes, radical faeries, fantasists, drags, clones, leatherfolk, ladies in tuxedos, feminist women or feminist men, masturbators, bulldaggers, divas, Snap!queens, butch bottoms, storytellers, transsexuals, aunties, wanna-bes, lesbian-identified men or lesbians who sleep with men, or people able to relish, learn from, or identify with such" (Eve Kosofsky-Sedgwick, "Queer and Now" in Tendencies, 8).
This understanding of "queer" as sex-gender extremity, oversufficiency, and differential superfluity has indeed disseminated quickly and energetically across the rapidly intensifying ranges of international moving-image culture. Over the past decade, film, television, and the Internet have supplied "queers" with tools to re-envision sex-gender subjectivity and social relations on an unprecedented scale, with "queer" sensibilities and critical projects emerging globally.
At the same time, however, the political, economic, and ideological contexts and determinants of "queer" moving-image culture have not generally been acknowledged, much less challenged. That the intensification of international moving-image culture, especially in the Third World and former Soviet bloc, is largely a hegemonic offensive launched in the interests of primarily U.S.-based transnational corporations (TNCs) remains a fact worthy of sustained interrogation by and within "queer theoretical" circles. Is it possible that "queer theorists" and "queer" moving-image artists exist who oppose this offensive? Might they voice their outrage and come to stand firmly, in solidarity, against the TNC-interested dominance of international media, which would co-opt the "queer" as paradigm of global deregulation and reposition "queerness" as a stereotypical vehicle for "creative" adventure and celebration of "success"?
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