Call for Abstracts for Bodies of Knowledge Symposium

January 13, 2014 at 9:00 am

The annual Bodies of Knowledge Symposium is scheduled to take place in Spring 2014 at the University of South Carolina Upstate.

The symposium, in its sixth year, will be held April 10-11, 2014.This LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning) symposium brings cutting edge theory about gender and sexuality into the region through a dynamic array of keynote speakers, as well as a conference to showcase presentations from undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and community members throughout the U.S. southeast on topics related to LGBTQ lives and culture.

The event will begin Thursday, April 10, with a performance by Leigh Hendrix of “How to be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less” and a talk by Thomas McBee on being “Trans, but Not Like You Think.”

Friday will include plenary lectures by Dr. David Halperin, author of “How to Be Gay” and co-founder of “GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies,” Dr. Mignon Moore, author of “Lipstick or Timberlands?: Meanings of Gender Presentation in Black Lesbian Communities,” and Dr. Bernadette Barton, author of “Pray the Gay Away: The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays.”

This year many of the symposium’s speakers and performers will focus on various ways of being LGBTQ, helping to intruduce a broad topic of LGBTQ cultural morés. In a historical moment that defines “gay,” “lesbian,” and “trans” according to highly assimilative models, the symp0sium is an effort to document, analyze, and disrupt this too-easy cultural knowingness about what it means to be, become, advocate for, recognize, or represent any element of “the” LGBTQ community (as if there is one unified community), as well as the various identities included in, compelled by, or excluded from that community.

Faculty members who are interested in proposing a paper and presenting their work at the symposium should submit 200-word abstracts to Dr. Lisa Johnson ( by Jan. 20, 2014. Notification of acceptance will be made by Feb. 1, 2014.

Suggested topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Campaigns or policies that advance the integration of gays, lesbian, and trans folk into mainstream culture; or, campaigns/policies that resist assimilation – local, national, and transnational scopes are welcome
  • Media culture: Television representations of LGBTQ normalcy (e.g., The New Normal, The Fosters, Modern Family, Glee); Music and LGBTQ normalcy (e.g., “born that way” rhetoric of lyrics by Lady Gaga and Macklemore; the afrofuture (ab)normalcy of Janelle Monae; does the queer parody video of “Bound 2” by Seth Rogen and James Franco speak in some way to the queerness of Kimye, or, like, what was that, exactly?)
  • Social processes of normalization; resistances to normalization; fantasies of normalization; the (ongoing) trouble with normal; tracking the appearance of the abnormal; politics of the abnormal; abnormal ethics
  • What’s the “Q” for? – Queer futurity; queer horizons; queer places; queer regions; queer politics; the paradox (borrowing from Jane Ward) of respectable queerness; poly, asexual, and intersexed (ab)normalcies; and while we’re at it, where did the “B” go?
  • Feeling normal; feeling abnormal – affect theory and LGBTQ normalization or resistance to normalization
  • Online (ab)normalcy: LGBTQ uses of social media (the queerness of instagram, the transness of tumblr, displays of compulsory heterosexuality on Facebook); the lesbigay selfie?; other cyber- or cyborgian instances of LGBTQ online dimensions?
  • Papers are also encouraged on topics related to the keynote lectures, as well as direct responses to the scholarly works by these speakers.

For information about past symposia, visit us at (information about the upcoming symposium will be posted there in January).