Monday, August 22, 2011

CFP: Queer Places, Practices, and Lives Symposium at Ohio State

Queer Places, Practices, and Lives: A Symposium in Honor of Samuel Steward

The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

May 18-19, 2012

Deadline for proposals: Sept. 16, 2011.

Confirmed speakers
Joseph Boone, Tim Dean, Kale Fajardo, Roderick Ferguson, Brian Glavey, Scott Herring, Eithne Lubhéid, Victor Mendoza, Deborah Miranda, José Esteban Muñoz, Hoang Tan Nguyen, Juana Marí­a Rodrí­guez, Nayan Shah, Justin Spring, Susan Stryker, Shane Vogel


We invite proposals for the inaugural queer studies conference at The Ohio State University. The title is meant as an expansive call to consider a host of issues evoked by queer places (local/global, urban/rural, North/South, East/West, public/private, mobility/immobility …), queer practices (sexual cultures, expressive cultures, political activism, academic work …), and queer lives (biography, hagiography, psychology, sexology, history, development …). We envision the conference as an opportunity both to take stock of inter/disciplinary trends as well as provoke new ideas and frameworks for future work.

The inspiration for this expansiveness and reevaluation is Samuel Steward, an OSU alum of the 1930s and the subject of Justin Spring’s critically acclaimed biography Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade (2010). As a literary studies academic, writer, and visual and tattoo artist, Steward lived a highly varied life, coming into contact, and in some cases forming long-lasting friendships, with such figures as Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Thornton Wilder, André Gide, Thomas Mann, Alfred Kinsey, Albert Camus, Christopher Isherwood, George Platt Lynes, and Paul Cadmus. As something of a gay Casanova (and a scrupulous archivist of his sexual encounters), Steward also “linked in,” as he might say, with such movie stars as Rudolf Valentino and Rock Hudson.

In 1995, Steward’s estate donated funds to the OSU English department to further research in LGBTQ scholarship, but these funds have only recently been “rediscovered.” To pay tribute to this queer Buckeye who studied at, taught at, and invested in OSU, we are taking our points of departure for panel themes from Steward’s life and work. Papers may thus address any of the following (or related) topics:

Aestheticism, decadence, Catholicism
Archives and material culture
Biography, autobiography, life-writing
Body art and modification
Colonialism, imperialism, decolonization
Expatriatism, migration, diaspora
Genealogies, invented traditions
Performativity, self-elaboration, world-making
Popular genres (pulp, erotica, mystery novels)
Public intellectuals and subcultural lives
Queer life in the academy, 1920-present
Race and ethnicity
Regionalism (especially the Midwest)
Rural, urban, suburban sexual geographies
Sailors, seamen, and other seafarers
Sexology (especially Havelock Ellis and Kinsey)
Sexual pleasure and perversity (BDSM, porn, hustling)
Visualities (painting, photography, film)

In addition, we are planning to publish a collection of essays on Samuel Steward after the conference. Thus, papers that focus on any aspect of Steward’s life and work are especially welcome.

Send 500-word abstract and 2-page CV by Sept. 16, 2011 to Joe Ponce (

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