Decolonising Queer Theory

QA2017 Keynote Panel

Opening keynote at Queer Asia 2017 chaired by Dr. Rahul Rao (SOAS). The conference panelists include Dr. Nour Abou Assab (CTDC), Dr. Ben Murtagh (SOAS), Dr. Nikita Dhawan (University of Innsbruck). The panel focuses on what it means to decolonise queer theory and how such decolonial moves have been made in different contexts emerging from Asian cultural, geopolitical, and socio-legal formations.

Chair: Dr. Rahul Rao, Senior Lecturer in Politics, SOAS

Dr. Rahul Rao is the author of Third World Protest: between home and the world (Oxford University Press, 2012). He is currently working on a book on queer postcolonial temporality.

Panelist: Dr. Tim Hildebrandt, Asst. Prof. in Social Policy and Development, LSE

Dr. Tim Hildebrandt’s research focuses, in part, on the rise of gay and lesbian activism in authoritarian contexts and the effect of social policies on LGBT people worldwide. Dr Hildebrandt’s work has appeared in Development and Change, Voluntas, The China Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China, Review of International Studies, among others; he is the author of Social Organizations and the Authoritarian State in China (Cambridge, 2013).

Panelist: Dr. Nikita Dhawan, Prof. of Political Science, University of Innsbruck

Dr. Nikita Dhawan is also the Director of the Research Platform Gender Studies: “Identities – Discourses – Transformations” at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Her publications include: Impossible Speech: On the Politics of Silence and Violence (Academia: 2007); Hegemony and Heteronormativity: Revisiting “the Political” in Queer Politics (co-ed., Ashgate: 2011); Decolonizing Enlightenment: Transnational Justice, Human Rights and Democracy in a Postcolonial World (ed., Barbara Budrich: 2014); Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction (with Maria do Mar Castro Varela, in German; transcript: 2015); Global Justice and Desire: Queering Economy (co-ed., Routledge: 2015); Negotiating Normativity: Postcolonial Appropriations, Contestations and Transformations (co-ed., Springer: 2016).

Panelist: Dr. Ben Murtagh, Senior Lecturer in Indonesian and Malay, SOAS

Dr. Ben Murtagh is also currently Head of the Departments of South and South East Asia at SOAS University of London. His main research interest is the representation of alternative genders and sexualities in Indonesia and South East Asia more generally, with a particular focus on cinema. His book Genders and Sexualities in Indonesian Cinema; constructing gay, lesbi and waria identities on screen was published by Routledge in 2013.

Panelist: Dr. Nour Abou Assab, Co-founder, Center for Transnational Development and Collaboration

Dr. Nour Abu-Assab is a Palestinian queer feminist sociologist and activist in the field of sexual and LGBT rights in the MENA region. Nour co-founded the Centre for Transnational Development and Collaboration through which she focuses on gender, sexuality and marginalised communities. Nour has a number of publications on issues of identities and sexualities in the region, including Queering Narratives and Narrating Queer: Colonial Queer Subjects in the Arab World in Queer in Translation (2017), Destabilising Gender Dynamics: Syria Post 2011 in a Gendered Approach to the Syrian Refugee Crisis, and she has co-authored Conceptualising Sexualities in the MENA Region: Undoing LGBTQI Categories. Nour also has a forthcoming book to be published by I.B. Tauris under the tile of Ethnic Minorities and Nationalism in the Middle East: the Kurds of Syria and the Circassians of Jordan.