Un_learning racialized Intimacies

Saturday 06th of June 2015, 13.30-17.30, Berlin-Neuk├Âlln

The workshop "Un_Learning Racialized Intimacies" with Gloria Wekker and Gail Lewis is meant to contribute to opening spaces of engagement and to search for queer forms of community in which different anti-racist queer positions do not have to separate themselves separatistically from each other.

When we speak of racialized intimacy, we mean not only erotic and sexual relationships, but also friendships as well as political contexts characterized by proximity (and the spectrum of conflict to trust therein). We believe it is politically interesting to address such intimacy; as well as the promises, desires, fears, and anxieties that accompany the entanglements of racialization and eroticization.

The notion of unlearning refers to Gayatri Spivak's expression, "to unlearn our privileges"; where we start from a complex, sometimes contradictory diversity of privilege and discrimination.

Why a writing workshop? The idea is to slow down the speed of potential conflict and take time to find formulations. What does it mean to not only express one's own position (perhaps in its contradictoriness and complexity), but also to find words for encounters with others (and accompanying experiences of similarity and otherness, of queerness and irritation)? How do histories of violence as well as colonial, racist and anti-Semitic, hetero- and body-normative, homo- and transphobic legacies enter into our perception and thinking? Short texts by Audre Lorde will serve as inspiration for our own writing.

Gloria Wekker and Gail Lewis are both from Audre Lorde's generation, were friends with her, and explicitly represent her perspectives of a practice of solidarity in the face of multiple differences and power relations within queer feminist and queer of color movements.

Audre Lorde (1934-1992) was a prominent U.S. writer and activist and described herself as a "black lesbian feminist mother poet warrior."

Gloria Wekker is author of The Politics of Passion and White Innocence (DukeUniversity Press, forthcoming) and formerly a professor of gender studies at Utrecht University (NL).

Gail Lewis holds a PhD in sociology and is a psychotherapist at Birkbeck College, London (UK); she works on gendering and racialization in postcolonial contexts.

Any writing language; instruction and group discussion: English

Please register (limited number of participants):

Organized by
Lena Eckert, Antke Engel, Sabrina Saase and Kathy-Ann Tan.

The workshop is part of the event series "Challenging Neocolonial Relations. Queer and Diasporic Forms of Ver_lernen" (Institute for Queer Theory).

Sponsored by the Amadeu Antonio Foundation. Thank you!

Drawing: Zeichnung: Laylah Ali, courtesy of the artist; Grafik: Kathy-Ann Tan