Can one be queer and coupled? Or is the logic of complementarity that subtends the couple fundamentally at odds with queer existence?

In 1998 Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner wrote that ‘making a queer world has required the development of kinds of intimacy that bear no necessary relation to domestic space, to kinship, to the couple form, to property and to the nation’. Since then, however, we have witnessed the couple form move from the periphery to the center of queer politics, becoming the major vehicle through which gays and lesbians have achieved access to cultural and legal institutions as well as broader social acceptance. While before the late twentieth century same-sex relations circulated largely outside what Foucault called the ‘monogamic and conjugal cell’, today it seems even the most peripheral of sexualities have been absorbed under the couple’s ever-expanding jurisdiction.

Does the present moment require a more honest reckoning with the central role of the couple in queer politics and everyday life? Or do we need, now more than ever, to revitalize our commitment to the production of a sexual politics that would resist the ideology of the couple?

This two-day symposium brings together some of the most significant voices in Anglo-American queer theory today to address the historical, cultural, and metaphysical force of the couple — and its often unquestioned status in queer life.

In English

Heather Love
Eng-Beng Lim
Elizabeth Freeman
Aliyyah I. Abdur-Rahman
Lee Edelman
Joseph Litvak
Laura Kipnis
Annamarie Jagose
Rinaldo Walcott
C. Riley Snorton
Petrus Liu
Bobby Benedicto
Peter Coviello
Michael Cobb

Organized by

An ICI Berlin event, organized by Pearl Brilmyer, Filippo Trentin, and Zairong Xiang, co-organized by Hila Amit, and in cooperation with the Zentrum für Gender- und Diversitätsforschung of the University of Tübingen (ZGD Tübingen) and GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies

The event, like all events at the ICI Berlin, is open to the public, free of charge. The audience is presumed to consent to a possible recording on the part of the ICI Berlin. If you would like to attend the event yet might require assistance, please contact Event Management.

Poster the couple