Conflicted Bodies

Conflicted Bodies Programme (also viewable below)

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 might 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. We will also be exhibiting Mariah Garnett’s video-installation Other & Father (2015) at Goldsmiths as part of the symposium programme. Lunch will be provided. Papers below (download the programme here).

Parallel Session 1

Female Militancy, 10-11.30
(Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre)

Chair: Liz Sage, University of Sussex

  • ‘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, SOAS, University of London
  • Ethical Whiteness and the Death Drive: White Women as the New American War Hero – Moon Charania, Spelman College

Refugees, Migrants, Borders, 10-11.30
(Room 342, Richard Hoggart Building)

Chair: Alyosxa Tudor, SOAS, University of London

  • (Dis)-Intersecting Intersectionality in the Time of Queer Refugee-ness – Sabiha Allouche, SOAS, University of London
  • From Azis to ISIS: Roma Muslim Men and the Racial Hierarchies of Bulgarian Belonging – Piro Rexhepi, Max Planck Institute

Parallel Session 2

Activism and Protest, 11.35-1.05
(Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre)

Chair: Caitriona Beaumont, London South Bank University

  • Intersectional Prefiguration: Sisters Uncut and the politics and practices of anti-austerity activism in the UK – Armine Ishkanian, London School of Economics
  • Shooting an Actress: Jane Fonda and the Vietnam War – Fiontan Moran, Tate Modern
  • Security unbound: spectres of feminism in Trump-time – Marysia Zalewski, University of Cardiff & Anne Sisson, University of Cincinnati

Incarceration, 11.35-1.05
(Room 342, Richard Hoggart Building)

Chair: Andrea Brady, Queen Mary’s, University of London

  • “Corporal punishment: sexual exploitation, justice and body/violence in narrating women’s prison experiences” – Emma Seaber, King’s College London, University of 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
  • Voluntary (hard) labour in the poetry of Anna Mendelssohn – Eleanor Careless, University of Sussex

Parallel Session 3

Technology, Security and Surveillance, 1.45-3.15
(Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre)

Chair: Annie Goh, Goldsmiths, University of London

  • Surveillance, Embodied: Art and Experience in Laura Poitras’s Astro Noise Jillian Terry, London School of Economics
  • From Polygraph to Plethysmograph: Cold War Technologies of Queer Surveillance – Kate M. Davison, University of Melbourne
  • Atomic Bombshells and Silicone Shots: women’s bodies, the military-industrial complex and plastics in the US, 1939-1969 – Isabelle Held, Royal College of Art & Victoria and Albert Museum

Wounds on Screen, 1.45-3.15
(Room 342, Richard Hoggart Building)

Chair: Cynthia Weber, University of Sussex

  • 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
  • ‘The Body Knows What It Has to Do’: Gut Feminisms and the Politics of Surrogacy in Top of the Lake – Jess Cotton, UCL, University of London

Plenary Panel

Queering Militarism, 3.30-5
(Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre)

Chair: Samuel Solomon, University of Sussex

  • 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

Keynote (Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre), 5-6.30

Chair: Tiffany Page, University of Cambridge 

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

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.