Queer Circuits in Archival Times: Performance, Networked Data, Digital Culture

Guest Editors: Benjamin Haber, PhD Candidate Sociology, Graduate Center, CUNY
Daniel J Sander, PhD Candidate Performance Studies, NYU

Submission Deadline: June 1st 2017

We live in an increasingly digital world, where conflicts over control, violence, and centralization play out in computational landscapes. The conscious and unconscious activities of queerly entangled bodies are archived for speculative monetization by a variety of proprietary digital networks, whose central motivation is to serve advertisements and measure populations rather than to promote vibrant and just social life. Racialized and gendered violence operates at queer timescales, distributing life chances outside of representational frames. At the same time, queer digital culture is providing new openings for Donna Haraway’s vision of “transgressed boundaries, potent fusions, and dangerous possibilities.”

Haraway's A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, technology, and socialist-feminism in the late twentieth century remains one of the most influential predecessors for the lines of thought animating this special issue. It is important to remember that in articulating her vision of a thoroughly postmodern feminism, Haraway was primarily drawing on two bodies of work—feminist science fiction and women of color feminism, in the work of Octavia E. Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Audre Lorde, and Cherríe Moraga, for example. That is, the cyborg is an inherently intersectional figure. If queer culture is to self-critically engage with the digital, then it will have to take into account the much vaster and more complicated gridlock of identity and affiliation, in which sexual practices and orientations are but one factor. While Queer Circuits in Archival Times builds on this lineage and the groundbreaking work of Sandy Stone, Patricia Clough, Jasbir Puar, Kara Keeling and many others, we recognize that these abnormal times require queer departures from the limits of form, history, and epistemology.

As new media studies and the digital humanities continue to be established as academic disciplines, we look to inf(l)ect this scholarship with the insights of feminist and queer knowledge production. We are interested in digital performance and inventive critique to theorize LGBTQ lives in a strikingly fluid legal, media, and political landscape. Just as important, however, we see queer thought playing an essential role in analyzing digital life beyond marginalized sexual cultures. How might we queer these digital networks that are increasingly constitutive of how we understand and witness the social? How can we reflexively and critically engage with queer social formations that seem to resonate with data capitalism? What archival practices and performances can help reinvigorate the queer histories forgotten in the linear narratives of gay progress?

This special issue was inspired by the conference Queer Circuits in Archival Times: Experimentation and Critique of Networked Data, co-sponsored by Women & Performance, which took place across CUNY, the NYPL, and Kilroy Metal Ceiling in May of 2016. This special issue looks to expand on these interdisciplinary conversations while inspiring new creative and critical interventions. Queer Circuits in Archival Times aims to bring together an array of both established and emerging scholars and artists working at the intersections of new media studies, performance studies, queer theory, feminist theory, and aesthetics.

This call will serve as the initial node in a constellation of intellectual and aesthetic dialogues investigating the surface and the interior, the fleshy and the immaterial, the artificial and the putatively authentic. This issue, in addition to standard essays, will also welcome art, performative pieces, poetry, and other creative forays into its aesthetic orbit. Finally, we also welcome new voices in this conversation, in efforts to design an expansive conversation; this includes scholars who have never published with Women and Performance before.

Topics of consideration and points of inspiration may include, but are not limited to:

  • Affect, identity, and representation after the internet

  • Critical reflections on queer theory in light of the digital

  • Digital performance of/and gender and sexuality

  • Hacked software and dubious hardware

  • Haptic reorganizations of boundaries between body/world and body/mind

  • Intimacy and alienation and/of (queer) digital culture

  • Monstrous digital assemblages across space/time/identity/species

  • Online queer collectivity, alternative kinship, and activism

  • Quantification of sex/sexuality/self

  • Queer race/Racialized queerness online

  • Queer (social) media

  • Queer theoretical frames and uses of digital media and archiving

  • The queer biodigitaldata and the queer inhuman/nonhuman
     

All submissions to Queer Circuits in Archival Times should be submitted to: Queercircuits@gmail.com

For additional submission guidelines please click here