Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Association for Queer Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Inclusivity
What is “queer” about “queer anthropology,” and anthropology writ large? Is queer theory only adaptable to studies of “gender and/or sexual minorities”? Conversely, are studies on LGBTQ+ individuals necessarily queer? Building on the basis of these questions, and the contributions made by existing anthropological works (see, e.g., Boellstorff & Dave, 2015; Manalansan 2016; Rubin 1984; Weiss 2016; Weston 1993), this tripartite panel adopts a queer(ing) gaze to look at resistance, resilience, and adaption in ethnographic encounters. More broadly, this panel intervenes in the ongoing conversation, and at times, conflict between anthropology and queer theories, and asks: What are some of the specific benefits and challenges of engaging anthropology with queer theories under specific regional, cultural, and historical contexts? Why does resistance to the mutual transformation and adaptation of anthropology and queer theory emerge time and again? Relatedly, what strands of queer theory are better adaptable to which kinds of anthropological research? And how might specific anthropological knowledge transform particular queer theoretical insights?
Committed to anthropology’s comparative approach, all three parts of this panel represent ethnographic engagements from multiple regions on four continents and topics as diverse as exchange relations, medicine, energy extraction, migration, education, archaeological analysis, and kinship, within and beyond the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ populations. Each part of the panel approaches the intersection of anthropology and queer theories, or the lack thereof, from slightly different angles: Part I, “Potentialities of Queerness” explores the (unexpected) potentialities of queerness in ethnographic encounters; Part II, “Queering Theories, Theorizing Queerness” critically examines how anthropology and queer theories (can) inform and transform each other on a more theoretical level; and Part III, “Materializing Queerness” closely looks at the materialization of queerness in everyday life. Together, we critically showcase the impact and potential of anthropological engagement on queer theories.