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Feminisms Unbound: Sexual Collisions: Reflections on Empire, Terror, and Violence

Sexual Collisions: Reflections on Empire, Terror, and Violence

In the wake of the mass shootings in Orlando, the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the murder of Jo Cox and the post-Brexit anti-immigrant practices, and the persistence of antiblack, anti-Muslim, and homophobic violence worldwide, we must address the urgent intersection of gender and sexuality with racialized state and non-state terror. This roundtable brings together queer and feminist scholars of race, diaspora, performance, and religion to reflect on these intersections, focusing particular attention on the gendered and sexualized dimensions of contemporary crises within racial capitalism, such as:  masculinity and the militarization of policing;  gender, race, and incarceration; the gendered criminalization of immigrant and diasporic religions; and queer responses to policing and the “war on terror.” 

Roundtable discussion participants:

Eng-Beng Lim
Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Dartmouth College 

Eng-Beng Lim works in performance and cultural studies, Asian/American studies, postcolonial/diaspora studies, and queer/transnational studies, and he is currently teaching the Orlando Syllabus, a course addressing the emergence of ‘toxic masculinity,’ mass violence, racism and homophobia in the aftermath of the shootings in Orlando, Florida. He is the author of Brown Boys and Rice Queens: Spellbinding Performance in the Asias (NYU, 2014), which received awards from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at CUNY Grad Center, and the Association for Asian American Studies. 

Gayatri Gopinath
Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University

Gayatri Gopinath works at the intersection of transnational feminist theory, queer diaspora studies, and postcolonial studies. Her book, Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Duke UP, 2005) examined queer contestations of normative figurations of family, nation, culture, and territory in a range of literature, film, music, and visual culture of South Asian diaspora. Her current book project, Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora, elaborates queer diasporic aesthetic responses to war, displacement, and colonial violence by artists and writers from South Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Central Asia, and across various global “souths.” 

Aisha Beliso-De Jesús
Associate Professor of African American Religions, Harvard Divinity School

Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús is a cultural and social anthropologist who has conducted ethnographic research with Santería practitioners in Cuba and the United States since 2003. Her award-winning book, Electric Santería: Racial and Sexual Assemblages of Transnational Religion (Columbia UP, 2015) details the transnational experience of Santería, in which racialized and gendered spirits, deities, priests, and religious travelers remake local, national, and political boundaries and actively reconfigure notions of technology and transnationalism. Her publications include articles in American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, and Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society.  Her current work explores the policing of Afro-Latino religious communities.

Associate Professor of Sociology and African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas, Austin 

Ben Carrington is a sociologist whose work analyzes the reproduction of race and masculinity within contemporary UK and US societies, with special attention to how ideologies of race shape - and are themselves shaped by - cultural forms, practices and identities and how popular culture is often a key site of both cultural resistance and domination. He examines the mass media, music, and sport to understand key sociological dimensions of everyday life such as personal and communal identity and nationalistic identification and dis-identification. He is the author of Race, Sport and Politics: The Sporting Black Diaspora (Sage, 2010), and coeditor of several important volumes on race, culture, and gender.

Moderator: Lisa Lowe
Professor of English and Humanities, Tufts University 

Lisa Lowe works in the fields of comparative literature, comparative colonialisms, and the cultural politics of race and migration.  She has authored books on orientalism, immigration, and globalization. Her most recent, The Intimacies of Four Continents (Duke UP, 2015), is a study of settler colonialism, transatlantic African slavery, and the East Indies and China trades.  With Jack Halberstam, she coedits the book series, Perverse Modernities, for Duke University Press.


About Feminisms Unbound

This Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality (GCWS) initiative, Feminisms Unbound, is an annual event series featuring debates that focus on feminist concerns, theories, and practices in this contemporary moment.  This series is intended to foster conversations and community among Boston-area feminist intellectuals and activists. The series, in its open configuration, endeavors to allow the greatest measure of engagement across multiple disciplinary trajectories, and a full array of feminist investments.  

The event organizers, who are also visiting scholars with the GCWS this year, are Kimberly Juanita Brown, Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies, Mount Holyoke College, Lisa Lowe, Professor of English and American Studies, Tufts University, and Jyoti Puri, Professor of Sociology, Simmons College, have programmed the four events in this series.