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Columbia offering ‘Queer Studies’ conference in France

A conference ‘at a time of global political crisis’

Columbia University is offering a “Queer Studies” conference at its Global Center in Paris, France. The event will “[bring] scholars together from France and the US to discuss queer theory, race, nation and immigration in Columbia’s Global Center in Paris.”

“In the wake of a fierce ‘anti-gender’ movement in Europe, queer theory has been characterized as a foreign import, as an American imperialism promoting ideas fundamentally antithetic to French political culture,” the event’s description states.

“What fantasies of contagion and reproduction lie at the heart of this French (conservative) version of ‘queer theory’ and what is the actual state of queer theory in the French academy today? The goal of this conference is to bring together French and American scholars to reflect on these questions, exchange ideas, and foster collaborations,” it continues.

The description claims that “in the US, scholars working under the banner of ‘queer theory’ or ‘queer studies’ comprise a wide-ranging group of thinkers with projects that range across numerous fields including disability studies, the politics of austerity, militarism and masculinity, urban planning, transgender surgeries in a global frame, queer diasporas, immigration, sex work, racial capitalism, state violence and so on:”

Perhaps the most significant difference, moreover, between European based queer theory and US based queer studies has less to do with marriage and the family and more to do with race. Perhaps the most important version of queer theory that should travel to Europe, then, is the work of queer scholars studying race, ethnicity and migration. This conference facilitates exchanges between and across communities of scholars at a time of global political crisis.

Panel discussions at the event include “A Gender Perspective on Sex Change: The Effects of Sexism and Heteronormativity on Trans Individuals’ Trajectories and Experiences in France” and “Pink and Blue Gender Trap or Transgender Revolution? Entangled Discourses of Gender in Childhood Today.”

The event is presented by “Queer Theory: Here, Now and Everywhere,” a working group in Columbia’s Center for the Study of Social Difference.

Read the event description here.

MORE: ‘Queer Studies’ program seeks to ‘destabilize normative sexuality’ 

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