WORKSHOP | Queer Readings: Queer Theory in Transit and Literary Studies

May 2023

Photo by Katie Rainbow on Unsplash

Queer theory has had a strong impact on the study of gender and sexuality since the 1990s. Its main focus is the deconstruction of the binary gender system and heteronormativity as well as a trenchant critique of all kinds of identity politics and identitarian logics. Queer has emerged as a critical force that undermines normative structures and explores and foregrounds those aspects which are excluded by such structures. After more than three decades, queer itself has undergone a number of modifications and repositionings, boundary-crossings and redrawings of boundaries.

One notable development has been, for example, a more sustained rethinking of queer in terms of intersectionality. Queer has also left its traces in literary studies, as can be seen in the numerous analyses of texts through the lens of queer theory. The resulting array of rather diverse investigations are loosely classed as ‘queer readings’, a term predominantly but not exclusively connected with the literary and queer scholar Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, who has presented both incisive readings of individual texts and groundbreaking reflections on the epistemological potential of such readings.

In this project the various disciplinary affiliations of the participants as well as their different national and local contexts enter into the discussion as a major force of questioning and putting into perspective the quasi-natural and almost exclusive referencing of US-American sources in queer studies. This continues to trigger critical reflections on the implications of various local engagements with queer theory.

The workshops typically consist of a mixture of activities, e.g. longer presentations, short papers to introduce seminal texts or short discussion inputs for roundtable discussions. Since the organizers of the workshop are committed to integrating junior researchers into their activities, the workshops usually includes participants from different stages of their academic career, senior as well as junior researchers.

PhD and MA students are chosen for the affinity of their dissertation projects to the workshop topic. They either present part of their own project for discussion or introduce a theory text or prepare a short discussion statement.

The workshop on Queer Readings: Queer Theory in Transit and Literary Studies is intended to round off a collection of essays based on our previous workshops.



Contact person

Dr hab., prof. ucz. Tomasz Basiuk, University of Warsaw


CENTRAL partners

Prof. Dr. Eveline Kilian, Humboldt-University Berlin

Dr. Susanne Hochreiter, University of Vienna