Conflicted Bodies

How might logics of militarism, patriarchy and heteronormativity be enmeshed and interdependent? By the same token, how might feminist, queer and pacifist politics draw on each other in the struggle for equality and against war? How do cultural representations in the media, art and literature shape and normalise such heteronormative practices? In thinking through the potential tensions and alliances between these ideologies, this conference seeks to reconsider the relations between gender, sexuality and violence.

Twentieth and twenty-first century Western norms have largely centred on the fantasy of hegemonic masculinity as the only subject able to manifest ‘control’, a subject that has given flesh to the nationalist ideals of sovereignty and self-determination. Women, queer identities, colonial subjects, and enemies in wartime have often been subordinated within this model of the body politic. These excluded subjects must be managed to maintain a social order grounded in the privileging of white, heterosexual, militarised masculinity.

Yet how might these norms be put under strain by the conflicts they are cultivated to support, or by political struggle? What of the claims made by these excluded subjects, and the new modes of representation they generate? What of the wounded male body – does this challenge or simply re-coup the status quo? If the exposure to violence is unevenly distributed through the categories of race and social class, do we need to interrogate the broad concept of hegemonic masculinity? What are the linkages between periods of national crisis and the pathologising of sexuality? What are the conditions of the masculinist revival perhaps most visible currently in the United States? Moreover, what of female or LGBTQ militancy? How miConflicted Bodies ProgrammeConflicted Bodiesght we re-think subjectivity, vulnerability and violence in order to contest structures of power?

Join us on the 30th September for a day-long conference at Goldsmiths to discuss the politics of gender, sexuality and violence. Lunch will be provided. Book free tickets on eventbrite. Papers below (download a copy of the programme here):


  • ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!’: Debility, Capacity, Disability – Jasbir Puar, Rutgers University

Female Militancy

  • ‘Those who Face Death’: Iraqi Women in Conflict from the First World War to the Present – Nadia Atia, Queen Mary’s, University of London
  • The Soft Power Aesthetic of ISIS Utopia – Aryana Ghazi-Hessami, New School for Social Research
  • Resistance Inside and Resistance Outside the Mind: Yvonne Rainer’s Journeys From Berlin/1971, 1980 – Henrietta Stanford, Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Ethical Whiteness and the Death Drive: White Women as the New American War Hero – Moon Charania, Spelman College

Refugees, Migrants, Borders

  • Sex with the Other: anxieties and representations of gender in Europe during the refugee crisis – Marta Della Libera, SOAS, University of London
  • (Dis)-Intersecting Intersectionality in the Time of Queer Refugee-ness – Sabiha Allouche, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • From Azis to ISIS: Roma Muslim Men and the Racial Hierarchies of Bulgarian Belonging – Piro Rexhepi, Max Planck Institute

Activism from the Ancient to the Contemporary

  • Intersectional Prefiguration: Sisters Uncut and the politics and practices of anti-austerity activism in the UK – Armine Ishkanian, London School of Economics
  • Laughing ourselves to death: Ancient comedy, militarism, and feminism – Polly Stoker, University of Birmingham
  • Shooting an Actress: Jane Fonda and the Vietnam War – Fiontan Moran, Tate Modern
  • ‘If he builds a wall, I’ll grow up and tear it down’: The Queer Logic of the Child-in-Protest – Jess Cotton, University College London


  • “Corporal punishment: sexual exploitation, justice and body/violence in narrating women’s prison experiences” – Emma Seaber, King’s College London
  • Writing by and about Republican Women Prisoners: Willful Subjects – Fiona McCann, Université de Lille 3 SHS/Institut Universitaire de France
  • Queer violence and legacies of imperialist homonationalism in Roy Scranton’s War Porn Christopher W. Clark, University of East Anglia

Technology, Security and Surveillance

  • Surveillance, Embodied: Art and Experience in Laura Poitras’s Astro Noise Jillian Terry, London School of Economics
  • Bring out your ‘dead’! Feminist hauntings in a Trump era – Marysia Zalewski, University of Cardiff & Anne Sisson, University of Cincinnati
  • From Polygraph to Plethysmograph: Cold War Technologies of Queer Surveillance – Kate M. Davison, University of Melbourne
  • Atomic Bombshells: Female bodies, the US military-industrial complex and the domestication of plastics on the American home front – Isabelle Held, Royal College of Art / Victoria and Albert Museum

Cinematic Representations of Woundedness

  • Algerian cinema and wounded masculinity – Natasha Marie Llorens, Columbia University, New York
  • Surviving Racial Violence: Film Form and Affective Economies – Gail Hamner, Syracuse University
  • Post-Genocide Bosnian (Muslim) Female Identity: An Analysis of Jasmila Žbanić’s Films – Jasmina Gavrankapetanovic, University of Sarajevo

Queering Militarism

  • Queering Civil-Military Relations: Support for the Military and the Repeal of DADT – Katharine Millar, London School of Economics
  • ‘The triumphant erectile carnalization of the Bomb’: Nancy Spero’s War Series Rachel Warriner, University College Cork & University of East Anglia
  • Queerly Misguided? Decisions (Not) to Collude with the Imperial State Are (Not)
  • Straightforward​’​ – Aaron Belkin, Palm Center & San Francisco State University
  • ‘This Is My Weapon / This Is My Gun’: The Weaponisation of Body Parts in Wartime Sexual Violence – Paul Kirby, London School of Economics

The conference has been organised by Eleanor Careless, Alex Coupe and Edwin Coomasaru through the Gender, Sexuality and Violence Research Network, and generously funded by CHASE.