‘Rethinking Radical Now Blog Series’ 2020

[Our blog series in lieu of cancelled conference activities in 2020: July-August 2020]

‘Rethinking Radical Now’ Blog Series Introduction by Jennifer Ung Loh and J. Daniel Luther

‘퀴어’가 한국말로 뭐에요? (What is ‘Queer’ in Korean?): Reflections on Navigating as Queer-identifying Student Activist by Jessie Yoon
Abstract: How does the concept 퀴어 (queer) operate as a part of everyday life, when mainstream conception is based upon the controversial Seoul pride? How are my experiences of using this word academically in universities entangled with, and distance itself from this popular reception? So, it’s story time: I’d like tell you three brief tales to sketch my experience as a queer student activist. In their differences, I explore the radical potential of the term ‘queer’ in South Korean context. Across these three stories of mine, one question never stopped haunting me. “What is 퀴어?”

Queer Safer Spaces by Elmira Zadissa and Ramona Zadissa
With this work, they question the idea of Queer Safer Spaces as safe only when one complies to identify with the norm. It is a response to the experience of being unsafe and made invisible in so-called queer safer spaces where only parts of one’s identity are accommodated for. By being expected to disrobe from those parts which do not fit the normative narrative, minorities are invited to a gentrified definition of Queer Spaces where the only those with the privilege of normativeness can enjoy being Safe. The non conformative parts of one’s identity are pushed out into the toxic margins of these Queer Safer Spaces.

Queer Theory in the Sexual Health and Human Rights Paradigm by Justin Francis Bionat
Abstract: Health issues of non-heterosexual men are not similar across the world. Health issues come with varying consequences to the lives of individuals when studying violations to the right to health. Health disparities exist in societies regardless of their attitudes towards LGBT individuals. The majority of previous studies on gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) identities in Cambodia are focused largely on individualistic risky sexual behaviour. The global HIV epidemic raised the awareness of LGBT communities but has led to the labelling of non-heterosexual men as “at-risk” or “socially deviant” populations. Utilizing the stories of the participants, this study where this study was based challenges the labelling, regulating and controlling of sexuality under categories of “deviance”, “risk” and “illness”. Biomedicine constructed a causal link between homosexuality and HIV/AIDS developing standards wherein queer bodies are seen as diseased and heterosexual bodies as the standard of normality and health. In order to achieve global health justice we have to place prime focus on the dismantling of the hierarchizations and categorization of non-normative sexual identities.

China’ by Jinhao Xie
A video poem by Jinhao, who is a lover of poetry, language; curious of the quiet and unheard; believes that poems can carry the non-weight of hearts; is the inaugural champion of Asia House Poetry slam 2018.

For Sara by Sabiha Allouche
This blog is a response to the original planned panel event titled ‘Reclaiming ‘queer’ and radical politics’, which was rethought of as a two-round conversation between the panellists. Our thanks to Sabiha for sharing this piece.
‘This blog entry is dedicated to the memory of Sara Hegazi, whose life history and untimely death is a reminder of the tremendous emotional labour and educational agenda on the violent continuum of history/ies that are yet to take place and of the necessity to think oppression through a matrix of intersectional axes…’

Ontopower and Queer Radical Changes by Victor Fan
This blog is a response to the original planned panel event titled ‘Reclaiming ‘queer’ and radical politics’, which was rethought of as a two-round conversation between the panellists. Our thanks to Victor for sharing this piece.
‘The moment we are being mindful of the here and now, we are able to take control of the potentiality and reconfigure the way it is, from one moment to another…In other words, every moment is constituted by a radical potentiality––only that we often fail to acknowledge it.’

Queer of Colour Community Building As Radical Utopia: QTIPOC Notts by Ibtisam Ahmed
Abstract: A rigid definition of being “radical” erases the precarious reality faced by marginalised communities, whose radicalism is often restricted due to concerns around security and safety. In this post, I provide a detailed reading of my involvement with the queer people of colour group QTIPOC Notts. I highlight moments where we have been able to disrupt white, cisheteronormative society, while also acknowledging the limits of our activities in terms of access and resources. By reflecting on these actions, I provide a more a nuanced exploration of how queer community building is radical in context.

To (Homo)Sex the Family/What’s Queer about Kinship? by Themal Ellawala
Abstract: I contend that the radical potential of queer-as-analytic is in apprehending the messy excesses of life that escape the narrow confines of cultural orthodoxies, ephemera that contest the very ontology of structural conditions. To buttress this grandiose claim, I turn to kinship in Sri Lanka. Discourses on queerness turn on an idiom of exile from home, especially the Third World home, rendering the family as incapable of sustaining queer intimacy. Continuing Gayatri Gopinath’s labors, I seek to resist the phobic myths of the West and the South Asian state by locating queer erotics resolutely within the domestic space, problematics and all.