CFP (Deadline Extended), Mind the Gap: Queer Erasure and Abundance in Contentious Times

Jeff Roy's picture

Call for Online Participation (Deadline Extended): Due Aug 16th

5th Queer Symposium at the Annual Conference on South Asia (UW-Madison)

Mind the Gap: Queer Erasure and Queer Abundance in Contentious Times

Thursday, October 21st

Given the global events of 2020 and 2021, from worldwide quarantine to civil uprisings, we ask how we can think of gaps and erasures, that emerge in queer experiences. Following Anjali Arondekar’s excavation of abundance in the queer archive, we also ask how we map the topos of the gap and its relations with other forms of presence that surround it (Arondekar, forthcoming).

What have queer folks lost in these times and what have we found in plenty? We have always asked questions about histories that are narrated with gaps and why they persist in their dominance. Gaps in knowledge and its production are vexed phenomena, haunting the scholar and discipline with the anxieties of the unknown and perhaps unknowable (Tsing, 2005). Too often are gaps represented as the failure of analytical skill or disciplinary training, to be filled and overcome in the interest of producing better, fuller knowledge. In this symposium, we invite reflection and discussion on such gaps as they confront queer, trans, hijra, khwaja sira and gender nonconforming South Asian subjects and scholars.

We may also consider a wider geography of gaps, a constellation linked together by the epistemes and structures that interpellate them. While gaps may often be understood to reveal absences, we nonetheless wish to consider alternative significations of what is absent (Visweswaran, 1994). Keeping in mind the phobic impulse to narrate queerness as lacunae, we ask: How do gaps relate to the proper objects, analytics, affects, and relations of South Asian sexuality studies? How does the convergence of the “area” of South Asia and “queer” (re)produce elisions (Arondekar and Patel, 2016), and what roles do they play in the mapping of institutional power?

Following four consequitive years of queer symposia (formerly pre-conferences) at the Annual Conference on South Asia, this year’s symposium aims to bring together scholars and practitioners of different academic and artistic disciplines to animate conversations happening at the nexus of queer studies and South Asia studies. Taking place entirely online and over the course of a full day, the symposium will generate intimate dialogue through a range of online formats, including streamed roundtable discussions, one-on-one breakout sessions, performances, video art, films, sound art, DJ sets, and informal conversations in a safe, supportive, LGBTQIA+ affirmative environment. We aim to be prudent with our use of time as we recognize that online interaction can be exhausting.

Proposed works should be critical in their orientation and may be from any field of study related to queer South Asia. Traditional paper formats, performances, video art, films, or other approaches that engage with the symposium’s thematic focus will receive the highest priority. We encourage submissions of curated artworks, curated video art, short films, or DJ sets of no more than 15 minutes. Developed works or works in progress are welcome. Please send abstracts of your proposed contribution (250 words) to the Queer South Asia Studies Symposium Collective ( by August 16th and include "Queer Symposium 2021 submission" in the subject line. Decisions will be made and sent out approximately two weeks after the due date.

Following our commitment to publishing works that emerge from the Queer Symposium, such as the Special Forum published in the Fall 2018 issue of QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, we will create a Special Issue originating from this and previous years' symposiaWe look forward to reviewing your abstracts!

Thank you and best wishes,

The Queer South Asia Studies Symposium Collective