Self-proclaimed liberal and pluralist Western states happily turn to gender and sexual politics in order to demonstrate their presumed progressiveness. They find support from some parts of feminist and LGBTI activism that regard (neo)liberal state and diversity policies instrumental for achieving integration and recognition. Such alliances have recently been criticized for fostering new social divisions and endorsing occidentalist and sometimes racist premises. Debates around this critique have tended to reproduce the political figure of antagonism, polarizing between dominant white middle class and various minoritized positions. This lecture series seeks instead to bring to the fore the nuances of the critique and aims at advancing queer sexual politics that take into consideration the subtle racializations of sexuality and the aftermath of colonial history.

The series brings together theoretical and political considerations that have developed from anti-racist, queer of colour, and/or migrant perspectives on late-modern and neoliberal state policies. It not only reflects on the way queer activism is entangled with these policies, but also points out how such activism is critical about the policies, and/or resistant to them. The speakers will analyze the sexual imaginaries that organize Western publics built upon occidentalist premises and develop queer counter narratives. They will also reflect on the possibilities and problematics of translating queer politics, which are informed by and attentive to complex power relations, into state politics. What happens in these translation processes? What are the roles of different institutional, non-institutional or anti-institutional contexts? What kinds of theoretical and political alliances and/or tensions arise when fights against racism, homophobia, sexism, classism, and bodyism are combined but privileges and profits are ignored?

The lecture series is organized by Antke Engel, Institute for Queer Theory, in cooperation with the ICI Berlin. It is supported by other academic institutions and political organizations in Berlin who co-organize and sponsor individual lectures in the series.

LS The Subtle Racializations of Sexuality Poster