- Mitali Thakor (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) email
- Stephen Molldrem (University of Michigan) email
This roundtable discussion gathers diverse scholars studying "Queer STS." What does it mean to do work at the intersection of Queer Theory, Feminist Studies, and STS? What would it mean to institutionalize "Queer STS" as a coherent sub-field, and what are some strategies for doing this work?
Building upon recent developments at the intersection of queer studies and STS, including a number of conversations at 4S 2015, this roundtable discussion gathers diverse scholars studying "Queer STS." What does it mean to do work at the intersection of Queer Theory, Feminist Studies, and STS? What would it mean to institutionalize "Queer STS" as a coherent sub-field, and what are some strategies for doing this work? Presenters will raise provocations and participate in moderated discussion based on their own approaches to research and teaching, including: queering specific theoretical framings of STS, such as actor-network theory; teaching a Queer STS syllabus/classroom; supporting Queer STS in the academy and for junior scholars; tracking a genealogy of queer studies within STS research; and more. This discussion invites interdisciplinary conversations, including, but not limited to: digital STS, internet studies, and critical studies of data; history of sexuality, biomedicine, psychiatry, medicalization; queer social theory and public sex; surveillance and policing; environmental politics; multispecies ethnography and animal studies; critical race studies; postcolonial feminism and Global STS; disability and queer/crip studies; history of technology; and Queer/Trans STS and the law.
This track is closed to new paper proposals.
On the Risks and Riskiness of Queer STS
Though the shape of STS has always been a bit queer, the content of ‘mainstream’ STS certainly has not. If the time has come to queer STS, then this occasion begs several questions about the diverse consequences of institutionalizing queer studies within the (inter)discipline.
Though the shape of STS has always been a bit queer, the content of 'mainstream' STS certainly has not. If the time has come to queer STS, then this occasion begs several questions about the diverse consequences of institutionalizing queer studies within the (inter)discipline. Indeed, disciplines are good at many things, not the least of which is disciplining subjects. How might queer STS resist the conservative forces of institutionalization while also claiming meaningful space in STS? How can queering STS offer opportunities to engage social justice and simultaneously critique identitarian moves that might bucket or silo queer issues as distinct from transnational, disability, feminist, and critical race work? What risks are worth taking for the purposes of increased visibility and community building, and how can queer STS provoke radical, transformative scholar-activism within or without the confines of STS proper? In the spirit of Ahmed's (2012) provocations about the (im)potency of institutional diversity, I ask: can queer STS maintain a transgressive politics of social transformation while being included?
Provocations (on Queer Media)
Hoagland presents three provocations on queer media. First, queer media projects and analyses center the question “How queer is it?” Second, queer media consumers develop “camp” reading practices. Third, students of queer media must identify “queer looks” that are the basis of new media critiques.
• Queer media is a collection of queer-identified media projects and analysis of media texts centered on the question "How queer is it?" Queer media has a print, digital, and broadcast history and has always intervened in social justice movements through radical means.
• Queer media consumers are media producers who develop "camp" reading practices when they choose technology platforms, invent representational strategies, and build horizontal networks.
• Students of queer media must learn to identify "queer looks" that are the basis of new media critiques and that precede new digital technologies for social networking, productivity, and digital art.
What is Queer STS? Fuck if I know.
In my work, “Queer STS” means challenging mechanistic, behaviorist, and positivist modes of description that dominate studies of human-computer interaction. It means taking seriously uncomfortable topics, bearing with their temporalities, and not moving to recuperate them or put them to good use.
What is Queer STS? Fuck if I know. In my own work, this means challenging the reductively mechanistic, behaviorist, and positivist modes of description that have long dominated studies of human-computer interaction and interface design. It means taking seriously uncomfortable topics, bearing with their temporalities, not moving too quickly to recuperate them or put them to good use. It means examining exorbitant objects that can be linked to the excessive, romantic, perverse, and unreasonable rather than transforming them or reconceiving them as acceptable or normal. This form of analysis moves past the exposure of social constructs and strictly representational analysis toward an ecology, a zone between cultural systems, infrastructures, and human subjects. As an outsider to STS, my work sprawls across disciplines. I have had to invent for myself, in the spontaneity of great need, the tools for a formalist apprehension of a more ubiquitous and less prestigious kind of text (pornography and its industry). This sometimes means the existing naming conventions don't fit my work. So I name joyously and with abandon, or just make shit up, rather than getting stuck in others' discourses. I search out my audience and play to it, ensuring that no matter where it is, no matter now localized or scattered, my audience has a chance to find me. This means going to different kinds of conferences in different fields, which is partly how I find myself at 4S. I guess for me, then, Queer STS means intellectual promiscuity instead of intellectual monogamy.
Queer Relations as Insurgent STS?
Drawing from critiques on method, discipline, and feminist STS, the author considers how queer relationality provides fertile ground for insurgent research-creation, creative scholarship, and move us to radically imagined territories of world-making for queer movements within and outside of STS.
Drawing from critiques on method (Feyerabend, 1975; Law, 2004), discipline (Foucault, 1977; Brown, 2010) and feminist STS (Barad, 2007; 2013; Haraway, 1997), the author urges us to consider the ways in which queer relationality might provide fertile ground for insurgent research-creation, creative scholarship and move us beyond modest witnessing (Haraway, 1997) to radically imagined territories of world-making that builds queer movements both within and outside of academic STS. Considering queer STS as intimacy, transgression and disruption; we ask ourselves:
• How can queer STS disrupt capitalism by defying the 'objectification' of academic work? Will institutionalization help or harm our ability to resist the academic industrial complex?
• How can queer creative work make a generative mess of STS scholarship?
• Do we want to be institutionalized? If not, how can we survive as insurgents within the academic industrial complex?
Roundtable - Time to Get Antianthropocene
I suggest that queer studies keep its "intuitively oppositional and antinormative" character yet move beyond sexuality and the body. I argue for queer theory that addresses technology as an actor, diverts its focus from the body and the human, onto multispecies, technoassemblages on a large scale.
Wiegman & Wilson (2015) have argued that queer theory need to modify this antiness and consider the power of norms as well as their heterogenous characteristic, their dynamics in order to debunk the notion that norms are fixed, immotile categories for interpretation. The question is, does this take away the initial impact of queer theory to start from a point of complete difference and alternative ways of understanding and formulating worlds? I suggest instead that queer studies that keeps its very core the argumentation and "intuitively oppositional and antinormative" character yet moves beyond sexuality and the body (cf. Weigman & Wilson 2015). What implications does this have for queer sts? Is queer sts too anthropocene? Why the focus on the human, the body and its sexuality to the exclusion of the nonhuman. How can we use queer theory to think through things other than bodies and sexuality. Do such ways of thinking through things already exist within queer studies? In the spirit of an antianthropocene queer theory, I argue for queer theory that addresses technology as an actor in more explicit ways, diverts its focus from the body and the human, onto multispecies, technoassemblages on a large scale.
This track is closed to new paper proposals.