Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Queer/ing Regions: full programme

Below you'll find details of the full programme for the Queer/ing Regions Symposium which takes place on 7 February 2013 in CELS001 and 002 on the Clifton Campus of Nottingham Trent University. The event is free. If you are interested in attending, please contact Dr Cuneyt Cakirlar or Dr Hongwei Bao.  

This research symposium aims to facilitate a critical intellectual exchange focusing on the discourses of the “regional” in contemporary queer criticism. Departing from the “transnational” turn in the second-wave queer scholarship exploring the global/ised intersections between race, ethnicity, nation/diaspora, gender and sexuality, we would like to address the possibilities/potentials of a critical “self-regioning” and thus to question the ways in which the complex regional/local formations of sexual dissidence emerges as objects of theoretical inquiry once situated within a global context by means of the critical, academic and activist practice. We would like to revisit the critical potentials of reclaiming the regional in queer critique. Rather than presuming the regional actors as passive recipients of global flux, this conversation will be delving into the complex dynamics of the global/local binary in sexual politics. How can we understand transnational formations of sexual subjectivities without assuming a radical alterity between the local and the global, or the west and the east? How can we understand the uneasy nexus of community and sexuality in a global framework? How can we identify modes of negotiation and contestation in the encounter of the local sexual politics and practices with the Gay International?

 PROGRAMME

10:20 Arrivals and tea/coffee 

10:45 Welcome

11:00-12:30 PANEL 1:

Chair: Dr. Liz Morrish (NTU)

Professor William Spurlin (Brunel)
Shifting Geopolitical Borders/Shifting Sexual Borders:
Renegotiations of (Queer) Regionalism in a Transnational World

Dr Howard Chiang (Warwick)
(De)Provincializing China:
Queer Historicism and Sinophone Postcolonial Critique

Professor Richard Phillips (Sheffield)
Centres, Margins and Sexuality Politics:
Asians and Muslims as Cultural Minorities in ‘Mostly Liberated Societies’

12:30-1:30 Lunch 

1:30-3:00 PANEL 2:

Chair: Professor Gregory Woods (NTU)

Dr Jon Binnie (Manchester Metropolitan)
In What Sense is There a Regional Problem in Transnational Queer Studies?

Dr Silvia Posocco (Birkbeck)
‘The Problem of Context’:
Issues of Scale, Relation and Perspective in Queer Studies

Dr Gavin Brown (Leicester)
Political Ecologies of Sexuality:
Rethinking the Place of the Region (and Other Scales) in Queer Research

3:00-3:30 Tea/coffee break 

3:30-5:00 PANEL 3:

Chair: Dr Robert Kulpa (UEA)

Dr Camila Bassi (Sheffield Hallam)
What's Radical about Reality TV?
An Unexpected Tale of a Chinese Antihero and Space for Lesbian Identity

Dr Enda McCaffrey (NTU)
From Homographies of Invisibility to Hypervisibility:
Queering and De-Queering City Centre Space

Dr Bethan Stevens (NTU)
Queerly Between: Sussex, England and Kigali, Rwanda (a travel narrative)







Friday, 25 January 2013

Gender, Family and Home(land) in Contemporary Turkish Cinema

In a recent article co-written with Özlem Güçlü, Cuneyt Cakirlar explored the meaning of gender, family and (home)land in contemporary Turkish cinema. 

In this research, they argue that Turkish cinema went through a significant process of change during the 1990s when a number of rising directors began depicting the suffocations of marginalized people in low budget minimalistic films. The films of the period, canonized as “New Turkish Cinema”, continually revolve around the issues of home(land) and belonging, and ‘reveal tensions, anxieties, and dilemmas around the questions of belonging, identity, and memory in contemporary Turkish society’ (Suner, 2010). In these films, home is not the haven that it was in the earlier Turkish cinema, but is associated with trauma, violence and horror. The works of the directors of the New Turkish Cinema is thus often associated with the major accented themes of homelessness, home-seeking and/or homecomings, and the aesthetic emphases on claustrophobic interiors, urban landscapes and liminal spaces. Even though these directors cannot be considered as diasporic or exilic, considering the political, economic and social climate of Turkey, their works might be taken as a critical response to the post-junta transition in the homeland. Home is often portrayed as an uncanny figure, a locus of threat and horror where ‘homelessness’ is a constant threat and/or the home is immersed in (mostly gender based) violence, crime and horror. 

The article aims to explore the shifting critical agendas of contemporary Turkish cinema in the last decade. By focusing on the recent works of three auteur directors, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Reha Erdem and Umit Unal, the authors discuss the representational dynamics of gender, home(land) and family which, we contend, are central conceptual tools to investigate their cinematic discourse of resistance against the dominant representational regimes within Turkish visual culture. This project will treat the directors' playful appropriations of masculinities and heterosexualities in their narrative agendas, as significant objects that resists – via allegory, exposure, estrangement and ambivalence – the contemporary politics of identification with gender and nation in Turkey. In this regard, depictions of family relations and home play a central role in our case studies. The urban/rural landscape and interior spaces act as microcosms of nation and home in the directors' cinematic agenda. The study contains in-depth readings of Ceylan's Three Monkeys (2008), Erdem's Hayat Var (2008) and Unal's Golgesizler (2009). They argue that these three films offer a comparative framework that presents effectively the recent change in the critical pattern of alternative filmmaking in Turkey and trigger possibilities for understanding the gender-specific peculiarities of the contemporary film practice.
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Cuneyt Cakirlar and Özlem Güçlü, “Gender, Family and Home(land) in Contemporary Turkish Cinema: A Comparative Analysis of Films by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Reha Erdem and Ümit Ünal,” in Resistance in Contemporary Middle Eastern Cultures: Literature, Cinema and Music, edited by Karima Laachir and Saeed R. Talajooy, London: Routledge, 2012, 167-83.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Symposium: Media and Cultural Studies @ NTU: 21 years - the past, the present, the future

On Friday 8 February 2013, this year's annual Media and Cultural Studies Symposium takes place. This year's theme celebrates the 21st birthday of media and cultural studies at Nottingham Trent University by exploring the past, the present and the future of media and cultural studies.


While Nottingham Trent University has a long been associated with media, cultural and communication studies (a Communication Studies degree was first established here in the early 1980s), the annual Media & Cultural Studies symposium this year marks the 21st birthday of the establishment of MCS as a Joint Honours subject in the institution. This was followed four years later (in 1996) by the setting up of a Media & Cultural Studies degree (now the BA in Media). Much has happened in the intervening years, both within the discipline, and within the higher education sector more broadly, both in the UK and beyond. The purpose of the symposium is to reflect on the changes, and continuities, within this period. What can we say about theoretical developments, pedagogical initiatives, new topics of enquiry and/or disappearing fields of study? The symposium will look to consider the history of Media & Cultural Studies, the contours of current debates and challenges, and the problems, issues and potentially new directions of the future.    
    
Some speakers are drawn from past  NTU staff and graduates who are now teaching at other UK universities. These include Professor Roger Bromley (University of Nottingham), Estella Tincknell (University of West of England), Donna Peberdy (Southampton Solent University) and Bob Jeffery (Sheffield Hallam University).However, we're really pleased to welcome Alexander Dhoest (University of Antwerp) who is also joining us as a speaker at the event alongside NTU staff Ben Taylor and Georgia Stone.

The day long event takes place on Clifton campus and is free of charge. To find out more about how to attend, please contact Dr Ben Taylor.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Queer/ing Regions Symposium: update

We now have a confirmed list of speakers for the 'Queer/ing Regions' Symposium. The event will take place on 7 February 2013, 10.30-17.00 on the Clifton campus (room CELS001) of Nottingham Trent University. The event is free: if you are interested in attending, please contact Dr Cuneyt Cakirlar or Dr Hongwei Bao.

The speakers are:

Camila Bassi (Sheffield Hallam)
Jon Binnie (Manchester Metropolitan)
Gavin Brown (Leicester)
Howard Chiang (Warwick)
Enda Mccaffrey (NTU)
Richard Phillips (Sheffield)
Silvia Posocco (Birkbeck)
William Spurlin (Brunel)
Bethan Stevens (NTU)
 
This research symposium aims to facilitate a critical intellectual exchange focusing on the discourses of the “regional” in contemporary queer criticism. Departing from the “transnational” turn in the second-wave queer scholarship exploring the global/ised intersections between race, ethnicity, nation/diaspora, gender and sexuality, we would like to address the possibilities/potentials of a critical “self-regioning” and thus to question the ways in which the complex regional/local formations of sexual dissidence emerges as objects of theoretical inquiry once situated within a global context by means of the critical, academic and activist practice.

We would like to revisit the critical potentials of reclaiming the regional in queer critique. Rather than presuming the regional actors as passive recipients of global flux, this conversation will be delving into the complex dynamics of the global/local binary in sexual politics. How can we understand transnational formations of sexual subjectivities without assuming a radical alterity between the local and the global, or the west and the east? How can we understand the uneasy nexus of community and sexuality in a global framework? How can we identify modes of negotiation and contestation in the encounter of the local sexual politics and practices with the Gay International?


Monday, 7 January 2013

'The "Asian" Problem'


Dr Hongwei Bao participated in the ‘Quo Vadis Cultural Studies?’ Research Symposium and Public Roundtable organised by the University of Potsdam and Humboldt University in Berlin on November 2. He gave a talk titled ‘The “Asian Problem”: on the Radicalisation of Cultural Studies’. 

In the talk, he addressed the widely-observed phenomenon in UK universities that, with the neoliberalisation of higher education and the institutionalisation of Media and Cultural Studies, many Asian students have entered UK universities to study higher degrees in Media and Cultural Studies. This has provided an excellent opportunity to experiment on the internationalisation, or rather, the ‘translation’ of Cultural Studies in the transnational and cross-cultural context. However, teachers and administrators in British Media and Cultural Studies have not yet fully understood the educational and cultural backgrounds of these Asian students. Nor has it fully met the Asian students’ demands, needs and difficulties. This has led to increasing misunderstandings on the part of both teachers and students, and, furthermore, a heightened pessimism about the future of internationalising Media and Cultural Studies. In this process, the ‘Asian student’ has been constructed as a ‘problem’ for Media and Cultural Studies; it is seen as a subject that is deficient in linguistic and intercultural communication competence and incapable of critical thinking, thus unfit for pursuing the commonly-conceived linguistically-challenging and theoretically-sophisticated subject of Media and Cultural Studies. Furthermore, the discourse of ‘Asian pragmatism’ also circulates widely based on the observation of many Asian students take more career-oriented and practical-skill-intensive Creative Industry and Media Practice subjects. As Media and Cultural Studies celebrate its anti-hegemonic and egalitarian ideals, it has also created biases, hierarchies and epistemic violence itself when encountered with the racialised and cultural Other. Thus teaching Cultural Studies to an international audience with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds can be seen as a de-colonising and anti-hegemonic political project: it is to critically reflect on the privilege and the Anglocentrism of the British Media and Cultural Studies on the one hand, and to open up the horizons and parameters of Media and Cultural Studies so as to better address issues and problems in the transnational and crosscultural context, on the Other.