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Queen's University



Thursday, February 7

Dina Georgis, University of Toronto, Women and Gender Studies Institute

Palestinian/Israeli Conflict and its Queer Affects

1-2.30pm, Mackintosh Corry Hall, Room D214

Abstract: This paper conceptualizes queer beyond historical identities. Under my definition, "queer" is not simply sexual orientation but the affects of hard to name experiences, which exceed social sense and meaning. Queer affect is the remainder of desire that has passed through the social and returns in ways that are troubled and disturbing. When queer affect finds expression in the social world, it might be censored, cast out, and rendered strange, wrong or monstrous. Queer could be understood as the parts of us that resist the domestication of the sexual for social recognition, the parts of us that refuse to be colonized into affable, upright subjects.

Though my rendition of queer is not culturally defined, it also does not exist outside it. As affective psychic trace, the queerly sexual interacts with culture when it returns in our collective symbolizations and our identity formations. This is an important distinction. Queer affect is what makes sexualities and love encounters deemed culturally wrong possible. An examination of Eytan Fox's The Bubble (2006), a film about a gay love story between Ashraf, a Palestinian boy from Nablus, and Noam and a Jewish boy from Tel Aviv, will demonstrate the painful results when queer desire interacts with the limits of political narrative and cultures of belonging and exclusion. To understand their love relationship beyond a simple analysis of Israeli/Palestinian cooperation, I will suggest that we must consider how we live our lives within political realities but also in excess of them. We must attend to "the hidden face of our identity" (Kristeva 1991, 1) beyond the logic of identity and group bonding. In Bubble it is not only their gay and raced identities that are being negotiated but also their queer affects. .

About the Speaker: Situated in the fields of postcolonial, diaspora and queer studies, Dina Georgis's work draws on theories of trauma, affect and mourning to think through how political cultures are responses to historic loss. She is particularly interested in how narrative and art articulate the affective topographies of memory and provide the conditions for working through the past. Her book, The better story: queer affects from the Middle East (SUNY, forthcoming March 2013), is a conversation among postcolonial studies, queer theory and psychoanalysis. Georgis consider the dynamics of political conflict, the histories and subjectivities they produce, and what it means to make an ethical relationship to the terrorized and terrorizing bodies that conflict produces. In 2010, No language is neutral: Writing on Dionne Brand, a co-edited collection with Katherine McKittrick & Rinaldo Walcott, will come out with Wilfrid Laurier

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