Global Queer Research Group: Sexual Politics in the Era of Transnationalism, Diasporas and Postcoloniality

Entries from October 2012

Dr. Karen Tongson’s talk at UBC and a Queer Karaoke Night

October 23rd, 2012 · Comments Off on Dr. Karen Tongson’s talk at UBC and a Queer Karaoke Night

Karen Tongson is coming to UBC and GQRG is a co-host. I’m also organizing a queer karaoke night in conjunction with the event: Anyone interested in belting out 80’s classics and queer of color aesthetics in action, please contact Dai ( Looking forward to seeing you all.
Latchkey Aesthetics: A Lecture by Dr. Karen Tongson

Dr. Tongson, Professor of English and Gender Studies at USC, will give a lecture at UBC on October 25-26, 2012. Dr. Tongson’s work is at the intersection of popular culture, queer studies, performance, music and literature. At UBC, she will give a talk titled “Latchkey Aesthetics.”

More information with regards to date, time, and venue to follow.

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October 17th, 2012 · Comments Off on CALL OUT! QUEER U CONFERENCE

Fluidity in Queer Identity

As part of Outweek (Feb 4-9), PRIDE UBC, with the support of Critical Studies in Sexualities and The Network: Queer Grad Students, is organizing Queer U, an annual graduate level academic conference on sexualities and genders. The conference centers on bringing the research and work of graduate students and established scholars from across the West Coast of North America and beyond to a broad audience in an attempt to foster understanding and discussion.

This year, Queer U seeks to generate a discussion on the Fluidity of Queer Identity. Who we are and who we will become changes over time – new experiences shaping us as we grow. How people see themselves – their very identity – changes and swerves between defined structures, occasionally pushing the boundaries of everyday understanding. Queer Identity, just one part of many people’s overall identity, is not immune from these fluid movements and, in turn, often helps shape one’s perception of almost anything.

How does one’s Queer Identity shape their view of the world? How does it impact their relationship with their body, their soul or their mind? Their politics? Or how does one’s politics impact their “Queerness”? Is there even such a thing as a Queer Identity and, if it does exist, to what level of influence does it have one one’s life? Queer U 2013 is interested in these questions and more.

This call for papers is open to graduate contributors and established scholars from any department or area of research related to sexualities or genders. Strong Undergraduate submissions are also accepted. All topics are welcome; however Queer U is especially seeking submissions dealing with the following topics.

  •   The (non)existence of Queer Identity and its impact on people
  •   The impact of politics, popular culture and education on Queer Identity or vice versa
  •   Bodies and Queer Identity
  •   International comparisons of identity
  •   Relationships between gender and queerness
  •   Innovative looks into gender or sexuality

    If interested, send in abstract (300 words MAX) to no later than November 20th. The conference is hosted at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

    The Queer U academic panel is open to the general public on Saturday, February 8th and will be immediately followed by a Wine & Cheese reception. 

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Latchkey Aesthetics

October 17th, 2012 · Comments Off on Latchkey Aesthetics

Latchkey Aesthetics 

a public lecture by Dr. Karen Tongson

Thursday, October 25, from 4-6 pm


Social Lounge at St. John’s College

***Jane Rule Endowment for Human Relationships will host a drop-in lunch on October 26 from 11-1, for interested graduate students to discuss their work with Dr. Tongson. If you are interested in participating in the lunch, please contact

Unsupervised, left alone and either fearful or bored, America’s suburban spawn have been called latchkey kids since at least World War II (when the label was purportedly invented to describe kids transiently orphaned by work as well as war). As a scholar of suburban affect, race, sexuality and performance, my work has explored the uniquely trashy, yet delectable confection of what I’ve elsewhere called a “latchkey aesthetics”—the effort at converting cultures of convenience and prefabricated, prêt-a-manger materials into art and performance. In this talk, I will elaborate upon how “latchkey aesthetics” repurposes found pop cultural materials (often from the 1970s-1990s). In performance pieces that feature the latchkey look, popular materials become easily accessible and “re-heatable” through postmillennial digital technologies—a practice that befits individual performers and small collaborations operating on shoestring budgets, and limited schedules for making art (not unlike the absent parents who helped cultivate the aesthetic to begin with).
Of particular focus will be an ongoing project by Bobby Abate (aka “Bobby Service”) and Lynne Chan (aka “Black Waterfall.”) called New Sound Karaoke ( NSK combines live performance, video, internet broadcasting and participatory club nights in various karaoke venues throughout New York, channeling Abate’s and Chan’s earnest investments in karaoke as an expressive and deeply intimate social pastime. Through Chan and Abate’s own vocal performances that mash-up, reheat, and reconstitute pop songbooks from multiple decades, as well as their stylized visual accompaniments, New Sound Karaoke becomes a performative exploration of race, sexuality, reproductivity and the thin line between homonormativity and hipster heterosexuality. By discussing not only what, but how Chan and Abate repurpose analog fantasies, we might be better able to understand the contemporary horizons of post-digital performance
Dr. Karen Tongson is an Associate Professor at USC  in English and Gender Studies. Dr. Tongson’s work on popular culture, queer studies, performance, music and literature has appeared in such journals as Social Text, GLQ, Nineteenth-Century Literature, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, and The International Journal of Communication, as well as in the anthologies Queering the Popular Pitch (Routledge), and The Blackwell Companion to LGBTQ Studies (eds. Haggerty and McGarry). Her first book, RELOCATIONS: Queer Suburban Imaginaries, was published August 1, 2011, as part of the New York University Press Sexual Cultures Series. Dr. Tongson is also a co-founder of the culture industry webzine OH! INDUSTRY (2007-2010).
This event is sponsored by Jane Rule Endowment for the Study of Human Relationships, Critical Studies in Gender, Sexuality, Race and Social Justice, and the Global Queer Research Group.

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