In April of 2019, the Gen/Sex Working Group at Penn will host “Queer Urgencies,” a conference that queries the possibilities and provocations of queer politics now in a moment when the legal recognition of gay and lesbian subjects in the United States coincides with the increased precarity of queer and/or raced bodies globally. By putting the term “urgent” next to the term “queer,” we hope to ask not only what’s urgent about queer studies now, but also what urges, emergencies, and insurgencies queer studies—with its specific critical methods and resources—should prioritize. As its name suggests, Queer Urgencies extends the questions, preoccupations, and provocations of the Queer Method conference Gen/Sex hosted in 2013. By combining artists and critics and theorists, Queer Urgencies will emphasize a creative exchange across media and disciplines. Synthesizing the divergent as well as collective interests of its speakers and committee, this conference treats queer coalition as itself an urgent project. Queer Urgencies will examine the urges, emergencies, and insurgencies of a queer politics made necessary by conditions of mass, yet differential, vulnerability.
Featured speakers and artists will include Anjali Arondekar, Kai Davis, Sam (Chip) Delany, Alison Kafer, Petrus Liu, Eng Beng Lim, Tavia Nyong’o, Raquel Salas Rivera, Juana María Rodríguez, Jules Rosskam, Danez Smith, Michelle Stephens, Kyla Tomkins, and Joshua Whitehead.