Queer Preconference: 

Navigating Normativity from a Non-normative Perspective in Academia and the Field


Call for Papers


Scholarship on South Asia has over the last two decades espoused a postcolonial hermeneutic to the study and documentation of minoritarian cultural formations, practices, and performances. Not only has this approach attended to issues of gender, sexuality, nationality, class, caste, and ethnicity, it also challenges boundaries of established research methods that frame our engagements in the field. While scholarly literature is nuanced in its approach to these issues, the field itself imposes upon scholars of different persuasions a kind of invisible hostility augmented by colonial thought. Our intention here is not to discount the breakthroughs that have already been made in literature, but to consider the underlying, implicit regimes that continue to stifle, stymie, and segregate the dynamic, interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches of scholars active in the field. 


For this preconference, we would specifically like to draw attention to the journeys of queer, trans, and gender nonconforming scholars working in and around South Asia in order to highlight the ways in which patriarchy, heteronormativity, and the closet––which are never fully named, specified, or explicitly demanded of us––emerge as a presence that frames our work. We consider these three concepts under the guise of normativity, which operates as a silent character in the scholar’s portfolio, their relationship to their field and academia in general. Indeed, the academic spaces that we come out of present different challenges. Appearing rarely in textual artifacts, normativity nonetheless rears its head in institutional processes such as fieldwork, conferences, and job searches, as well as in racial, sexual, and gendered microaggressions that code the western academic tradition of manifesting authority and authorship. 


Building on collaborative works that challenge disciplinary power lines (Prasad and Roy, forthcoming), this preconference invites scholars from diverse fields to show how our personal and professional narratives parallel one another and may serve as media through which normativity operates. This can include scholars working in explicitly queer fields of study, as well as seemingly normative areas of work, unrelated to LGBTIQ identification, where queer, trans, and non-normative scholarly perspectives existOperating from a framework of intersectionality, we understand that identities are inextricably linked, and encourage scholars of all persuasions and backgrounds to consider their positions––privileged or otherwise––within the framework of patriarchy, heteronormativity, and the closet. 


Papers, lecture-demonstrations, or performances (no more than 20 minutes in length) should be critical in their orientation, and may delve theoretically into the fields and politics of gender, sexuality, race, class/caste, religion, language, social change, nationalism, globalization, international policy, performance, education, and other areas. Developed works as well as works in progress are strongly encouraged, as are budding thoughts or questions in the areas listed above. Please send abstracts of 250-300 words to Jeff Roy (jeff.roy@live.com) by June 1st. Late submissions will not be considered. Decisions will be made and sent out by June 15th. Thank you!