GSWS Graduate Colloquium ft. Yara Damaj (Political Science) and Lauren Bakst (English)

Thursday, December 7, 2023 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

FBH 345

This location is ADA accessible

Yara Damaj (she/her)

"Disrupting Binaries: #MosqueMeToo, Double Duress, and Colonial Mimicry"

[Abstract Forthcoming]


Lauren Bakst (she/her)

"Lesbian Surrounds: Studying with Shakedown and the Clit Club"

How do lesbians have sex in the city, beyond the parameters of the domestic? Or more specifically, how have lesbians imagined, constructed, and participated in erotic milieus that are shaped in service of their sexual experimentation? In this talk, I turn to the fragments and mediations of the Clit Club and Shakedown, two queerly composed lesbian parties of the 1990s and early 2000s that explicitly centered the sexual, sensual, and erotic in the making of lesbian social spaces. Taking my methodological cues from the parties’ modes of social (dis)organization, I approach the Clit Club and Shakedown as web-like infrastructures that generated lesbian surrounds. For AbdouMaliq Simone, the surrounds is a “mode of accompaniment" with the city, an “urbanization from below” that affords provisional “opportunities for rehearsal.” Inspired by Simone's work, I use the term “lesbian surrounds” to denote the deliberate tending of porous and affective atmospheres—rather than the production of self-possessed communities bound by identification—within the logics of abandonment and enclosure that constitute the neoliberal city. I offer “lesbian surrounds” as an alternative analytic for thinking with the functions of identity for reproducing lesbian sociality, one that foregrounds blackness, gender improvisation, and queer performativity in the making of lesbian desiring fields. As a counternarrative to contemporary anxieties that the disappearance of lesbian spaces signals the impending erasure of the sexual category, I attend to the pedagogical transmissions of these experiments and the ways their tactics of eroticism recursively reappear in, as, and through queer performance. 


Contact to Register:

[zoom link also available upon registration if you cannot attend in-person]