‘Reclaiming ‘queer’ and radical politics – call and questions

Reclaiming ‘Queer’ and Radical Politics – ‘Queer’ Asia 2020 – Reclaiming Radical Now

How and is queer and queerness still radical? What spaces and practices inform the radical potential of queer? Is the term in translation and contestation with local forms relevant to radical practice in non-western contexts? Does queer presuppose forms of knowledge that are exclusionary (class, race)? What happens when queerness is co-opted into nationalist forms? What postcolonial structures clash with queerness? 

In lieu of an in-person panel discussion we hope to offer a written transcript of a dialogue that examines and investigates the radicality of the term ‘queer’ today. We hope that in addition to examining how it travels and is appropriated in other contexts — decontextualised in service of neoliberalism, regional use, contemporary culture, or as a pseudonym for non-normative forms of sexuality and gender — this discussion will also think through how we might reclaim queerness as potential especially in the incremental fall-out from the global pandemic affecting precarious people everywhere. We hope this rethinking of ‘queer’ considers questions that address precarity, marginalisation, and rethinking radical politics in the face of ongoing climate and health crisis, perpetual wars, revolutions, and migration.

The following questions are intended to serve as a guiding framework for your responses but please feel free to take the discussion in directions you see most useful. In the first instance we are keen to request your input to the below three questions. We will then share your responses with the other three panellists and do a second round just responding to, build from, or querying further. We’ll share the final draft after the two rounds back with you in case you’d like to edit something, comment further, or offer closing remarks.

  • How and is ‘queer’ and ‘queerness’ still radical? What spaces and practices in the contemporary continue to shape and inform our understanding of the radical potential of ‘queer’?
  • Keeping in mind the pervasiveness of the neoliberal global framework we are mindful of the increasing deployment of the term ‘queer’ as a sign of ‘radical newness’ without necessarily being grounded in a practice that challenges dominant hegemonic formations. How do we respond to and recuperate our understanding of queer from the term ‘queer’ as just another marker that can be co-opted?
  • ‘Queer’ knowledges and practices can be co-opted within nationalisms, post-colonial structures, and neoliberal practices. How do we imagine radical queerness in opposition to these frameworks?