South-North Dialogues on Queer Epistemologies, Embodiments and Activisms
Edited By Elizabeth Sara Lewis, Rodrigo Borba, Branca Falabella Fabrício and Diana de Souza Pinto
South-North Dialogues on Queer Epistemologies, Embodiments and Activisms is composed of research presented at the fourth international Queering Paradigms Conference (QP4), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In line with the QP project ethos of bringing together diverse epistemological and geographical allegiances, this volume intends to contribute to building a queer postcolonial critique of the current politics of queer activism and of queer knowledge production and circulation. However, rather than perpetuating the North-South dichotomy, the papers gathered here are an effort to establish global dialogues that crisscross those axes, as well as attempts at queering epistemologies, socio-political bonds, and bodies, embodiments and identities. They endeavour to trouble unequal geographies of knowledge – namely the North as an exporter of theories and the South as their importer; the North as a producer of knowledge and the South as its object of study – hosting enormous potential for reinvention.
← viii | ix → Foreword
The Queering Paradigms (QP henceforth) network, international conference and book series grew as a response to a localized materialization of the trappings of heteronormativity: refusal to recognize difference, leading to the dehumanization of the subjects seen as “different” (Butler 2004). QP was founded in 2008 by Professor B. Scherer, aiming to insidiously (under)mine normativities and the processes of exclusion and hierarchization that accompany them and are (re)produced by them.
Hetero- and homonormativities have been the primary focus of critique of the Queering Paradigms network. QP1 was held at Canterbury Christ Church University, in 2009. In its second incarnation, in 2010, the QP conference, held at the Queensland University of Technology, in Australia, contributed significantly to public policy debates, among others. In 2011, at the Oneonta campus of the State University of New York, USA, QP3 brought together a broad array of queer researchers and activists from many disciplinary affiliations and geographical locations. However, in the three conferences, representatives of North America and Europe greatly outnumbered Global Southerners. This trajectory brought to light yet another normativity to be ruthlessly combatted: the QP project, albeit unintentionally, seemed to be falling victim to North-normativity. With North-normativity we want to highlight the geographical bias of knowledge production and circulation within Queer Theories (but unfortunately not restricted to them).
QP4, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012, was the network’s first attempt to contest the logics of such an epistemological trap. The presence of Latin Americans was very strong, and there was a contingent of QPers from Asia as well. Although the number of Global Northerners was still very high, the participation of Global Southerners was impressive. The quality of the works presented highlighted the fact that researchers from the South have been actively incorporating queer theorization from the North; the opposite, however, did not prove itself to be true. Rarely did ← ix | x → any researcher from the USA or Europe cite papers or books produced in the Global South. This has to do with what we have been calling North-normativity: the North is the place where theories are produced; the South is the place where those theories are imported. The North is the subject of knowledge; the South is still its object. This book enters the scene as an attempt to trouble such unequal geographies of knowledge, by bringing together papers that establish global dialogues rather than perpetuating the North-South dichotomy. We are also pleased to announce that this volume is actually the first in a multilingual pair; its companion shall include other papers from QP4 in Portuguese and Spanish – the first non-English volume in the QP series. The dual form is a testament to the project’s commitment to its name, queering paradigms.
In closing, we, the editors, would like to thank the following people for helping to make this volume possible: our international team of peer reviewers, Matthew Ball, Sharon Hayes, Mario Lugarinho, Liz Morrish, Kathleen O’Mara, Helen Sauntson and María Amelia Viteri; B. Scherer for working as series editor and reviewer; as well as Lucy Melville, Alessandra Anzani and the team at Peter Lang. We also wish to thank the following Brazilian entities for their support: the Center for Mathematical and Natural Sciences (CCMN), the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Applied Linguistics, the Faculty of Letters and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ); the Graduate Program in Social Memory and the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO); and the Brazilian Association of Applied Linguistics (ALAB), the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) and the Rio de Janeiro State Research Foundation (FAPERJ).
Rodrigo Borba, Elizabeth Sara Lewis,
Branca Falabella Fabrício and Diana de Souza Pinto