The Queer Space Studies Initiative
Initially intended to operate as an archive that would preserve and make accessible queer historical material, the Initiative aspires to develop and consolidate collegial bonds among scholars from a spectrum of disciplines that study the relationship between sexuality and space.
Our overriding goal is to produce a collective endeavor to share knowledge outside of our institutional havens and practices, while utilizing the grounds from which we create scholarship as channels that contribute to the purpose of sharing, exchanging, and bonding. The main emphasis of the Initiative is thus community construction through the dissemination of knowledge to help online visitors and participants advance their ideas and research interests.
The Queer Space Studies Initiative was created by interdisciplinary scholar Stefanos Milkidis during fall 2017, and officially went online on December 1st of the same year. It aspires to become a vibrant platform of research on the conceptualization of queer space through which questions of intersectionality can be examined and contested. The potential of using queer space as an integrating concept that allows access to the lives and experiences of different social groups is not yet fully realized, not yet fully legible. Yet for many scholars, regardless of disciplinary orientation, there has been an imperative need to draw attention to the various productions of space in the study of marginalized bodies from both the past and the present. The recovery of histories of queer sexuality almost always includes references to places and communities, seeking to establish an understanding of people and events in location. While queer space does not constitute a historical methodology, neither a theory nor a meta-theory per se, it continues to appear as a discourse that effectively captures gender, sexuality, culture and architecture within multiple academic orientations.
The Queer Space Studies Initiative seeks to provide access to resources that explore the notion of queer space as historically contingent and culturally specific, while foregrounding theoretical formulations and arguments about sexual practices and desires within broader epistemological understandings of space. However, recognizing that theoretical contributions emerge from several strands of critical thought, queer space often comes along as an elusive concept that is cited, circulated and reproduced within the interstices of a continual negotiation between academia and reality. It is precisely at this juncture that the Queer Space Studies Initiative attempts to call into question the concept of queer space, not by a repudiation of the multifold academic approaches to contextualize reality, but by a need to critically reflect on their merits or failings.
Queer Space exhibition poster, Storefront for Art and Architecture, 1994
Within the United States and internationally, our vision is to
create a forum for a diverse group of individuals who have critically addressed the intersections of gender, sexuality and space through their scholarship, artistic practice, and activism.
make available a fully accessible archive of ephemera, including visual and non-traditional forms of representation; such as photographs, posters, pamphlets, stickers, t-shirts, newsletters, periodicals, postcards, diaries, oral histories, audio and film collections, or information about accessing library, museum and community based archives. We warmly welcome any form of contribution to this long-term task.
launch an online, interdisciplinary journal that will reflect the diversity of research on queer spaces from across the spectrum of the humanities and social sciences. We place free accessibility at the core of our philosophy as we consider it a key characteristic of our effort to create an open, non-exclusionary space. While we aim to run a robust platform for authoring and publishing, we will accept all papers and articles that pertain to the specific theme of a journal issue. You may find more information under the CFP section for our first online publication scheduled for fall 2019.
establish an annual conference that will exist both in virtual and physical space. As we build our community, we expect this endeavor to bring a whole host of other activities, such as film screenings, exhibitions, public discussions, and live performances. It is important to note that we emphasize the need to understand the notion of queer space in a transitional context and the new directions it is taking in the 21st century. For that reason, we will strive to make all activities digitally available on our website either as a live feed or recorded material. Given the nascent state of the Initiative, we hope to make this vision a reality during the year of 2019.
Alvin Baltrop, The Piers, 1977