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Queering Paradigms IV

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.

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Queering the Geopolitics of Knowledge



Why does Queer Theory continue to travel from North to South? Even in an increasingly decentered world, we still witness the hegemony of academic exchange in which the North produces theories and the South is seen as a space for collecting data, making ethnographic incursions or applying (Northern) theories to particular cases. Queer Theory has acquired international fame within this pattern of knowledge circulation. How can it be that such a critical and politically committed current of thought, which has been able to address so many power relations previously ignored within different national realities, has not taken these same relations into account within its own international circulation?

As someone from the Global South, I understand Queer Theory as a set of diverse academic works in the field of sexuality studies that challenge disciplinary frames and power relations, analyzing how heterosexuality still remains compulsory and/or a pattern of normality that shapes social relations, subjectivities and even institutions. Despite its origins and/or development in different national contexts, Queer Studies continue to circulate internationally in ways that privilege research, subjects and models of understanding created in the United States.

Recently, Ramón Grosfoguel (2012: 338) pointed out that Eurocentric intellectuals still deal with the Global South as the Catholic missionaries of the 16th century did. Have Northern Queer researchers acted differently? According to my experience as a queer scholar based in Brazil, I would say that they have not. Rather, Queer Theory has...

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