Queer aesthetics has typically been connected to performance and performing. More recently, many of queer theory’s leading theorists have turned towards the exploration of a number of forms of queer temporality (as seen, for example in critiques of reproductive futurism (Edelman), in work on the queer archive and the significance of feeling “backwards” (Love), in work on cruel optimism, and on violence understood not as moments of spectacular crisis but also in a slowed time associated with lived, habitual, quotidian violence become ordinary (Berlant, Holland). At the same time, queer theory’s ongoing engagement with performance and media studies has also turned to explore the specificity of the aesthetics of time-based media, thinking the differentials of cinema, TV, interactive installation, Internet, and social media. This cross-interdisciplinary research group will ask how these different temporalities intermingle. In this context, we will ask: what is the role of the aesthetic in its double sense as perception and as philosophy of art, and also as it merges with the political, the revolutionary, the utopian and anti-utopian, and problems of social transformation.
The project will be pursued through two concurrent reading groups, one to be pursued at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Masterprogram and Graduate Program: Medienwissenschaft and Gender Studies) lead by Prof. Dr. Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky, and the second to be pursued at Northwestern University, lead by Prof. Dr. Penelope Deutscher (Critical Theory Cluster) in collaboration with a group of faculty (Wright, Dohoney, Parkinson) and graduate students from African-American studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Comparative Literary Studies, Music, and German.