Dr William Schroeder (University of Manchester, UK) is organizing a panel for this year’s American Anthropological Association meeting in Montreal, Canada. Please email your 250-word abstract by April 1, 2011, if you are interested in being a part of this session. Please also forward to anyone else who may be interested in participating.
In various contexts of social, political, and cultural exclusion, queer people around the world confront the possibility of their immediate eradication as well as systemic mechanisms designed to prevent their existence in the future. Nevertheless, queer individuals and communities often manage to get by, overcoming challenges to their proliferation and vibrancy.
Queer theories of time have considered “futurity” in light of these difficulties and have arrived at diverse conclusions about how queer people can and should conceive of themselves in the present or imagine themselves in the future. Some of these theories entertain the possibility of hope; others embrace thanatos and extinction. Anthropology has recently had a fraught relationship with these theories, and in light of the upcoming meeting’s theme -- “traces, tidemarks, and legacies” -- there seems no time like the present to address our stance vis-ŕ-vis queer theory. This panel responds in particular to the statement contained in the elaboration of this year’s theme: “Legacies imply pasts (imagined, asserted or remembered) that become entangled with the present and potential future, both informing and perhaps defining new differences.”
The panel seeks to make the anthropological voice heard in debates about queer concepts of time by offering ethnographic presentations of queer futurity, broadly conceived. Anthropology stands to contribute significant insights to the question of how queer people and communities around the world understand time, its passing, and their own temporal existence. We may find that the polemics of a queer theory emanating from a particular set of critiques about Euro-American cultures has little to do with queer people’s on-the-ground experiences. But we may just as well find that some of the issues raised in these critiques resonate with the experiences of our informants even in places far from the US and western Europe. In either case, anthropology is poised now to make its own mark in the theoretical legacy of queer futurity.
Possible papers might explore queer parenthood, strategic political movements, utopic community-building, memorialization, historiography and historical production, global communications, and other areas. Ethnographic realism should guide contributions to this panel, but theoretical creativity and avant-garde methodologies are welcome.
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