CFP: Queer/ing Animation

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The University of Hull is pleased to announce the Queer/ing Animation Symposium!

When: 26 July, 2017

Keynote Speaker: Nichola Dobson from the University of Edinburgh will be presenting the keynote speech, discussing her biographical work on animation master Norman McLaren and the impact his sexuality had on his life and work.

Official Call for Papers:

In his article “No Place Like Home: The Transgendered Narrative of Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues,” Jay Prosser states that “queerness effects an opening of the borders between genders, disturbs the discrete categories of lesbian, gay, man, woman – undoing their identity narratives – and, as a result, enables the formation of new political, cultural, and social coalitions” (486).  In Prosser’s view, “queer” is a call for plasticity, for flexibility, within society’s heteronormative understand of gender and sexuality.  Those who identify as “queer” frequently use their identities to criticize and disrupt these notions, demanding acknowledgement when society ignores them, representation when they and other LGBT+ individuals are erased.
Animation operates in a similar way: its plasticity allows the medium to move freely between the realism of Walt Disney to the absurdity of Jan Švenkmajer, constantly searching for new possibilities of expression.  Paul Wells explains, ‘the animated film has the capacity to redefine orthodoxies of live-action narrative and images, and address the human condition with as much authority and insight as any live-action film’ (1993: 4).  In other words, animation’s elasticity opens a realm where ideas of normalcy are disrupted and hidden potentials are revealed much in the same way that queer theory disrupts common understandings of gender and sexuality to explore other options in regards to embodiment and expression.
How, then, can concepts of queerness be applied to animation?  If queer and LGBT+ individuals are frequently erased, where can they be found in animated films and animation history?  This conference seeks to answer these questions and more.  Applicants are invited to submit papers on the following topics:

  • Queer animators (i.e. erasure of queer identity, impact sexuality or identity has on their work)
  • Studios’ relationship with queer communities (ex. treatment of queer employees, interaction with queer fans, marketing practices aimed specifically at the queer community)
  • Queer representation within animation (ex. positive representation, gaps in representation, possible examples of queerbaiting)
  • Animation as a tool for queer activism
  • Applications of queer theory to animation as a medium
  • Queer fan communities and their relationship to a particular animated text (ex. queer interpretations of a character, slash and femslash communities)

Please send a 250-word abstract and a 100 word bio to Kodi Maier atqueeringanimation@outlook.com

The deadline for abstracts is 14 April 2017.

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