Queer Directions Symposium

Queer Directions is an annual symposium addressing the most pressing issues in queer and sexuality studies and related communities that is free to the public. It has an additional experimental classroom component available to graduate students by application.

2024: Queer Reflections

Queer Directions is an annual symposium at The Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies addressing pressing issues in queer, trans, and sexuality studies, politics, and culture. This year’s theme is Queer & Trans Reflections with speakers Jasbir Puar, Roderick Ferguson, Billy-Ray Belcourt, and Dora Silva Santana. Sexual Diversity Studies is experiencing its 25th anniversary, and we have dedicated the year to a series of reflections: where have we been, where are we now, and where we have yet to go? As a community, we continue to challenge ourselves to be better, and to do better, and we continue to hope and dream for more and otherwise. Our esteemed panelists will join us to raise similar questions, press on other ones, and bring their own work to bear on what it means to ask these questions now.

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Speaker Bios

Jasbir K. Puar is a Professor at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at University of British Columbia. She is the author of the award-winning books The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability (2017) and Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (2007), re-issued as an expanded version for its 10th anniversary (2017). Her articles have been published in journals such as Social Text and South Atlantic Quarterly, mainstream venues such as Al-Jazeera and The Guardian.

Roderick Ferguson is the William Roberston Coe Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Professor of American Studies at Yale University. He is the author of One-Dimensional Queer (2019), We Demand: The University and Student Protests (2017), The Reorder of Things: The University and Its Pedagogies of Minority Difference (2012), and Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique (2004). He is the co-editor with Grace Hong of the anthology Strange Affinities: The Gender and Sexual Politics of Comparative Racialization (2011). He is also co-editor with Erica Edwards and Jeffrey Ogbar of Keywords of African American Studies (2018). He is currently working on two monographs—The Arts of Black Studies and The Bookshop of Black Queer Diaspora.

Billy-Ray Belcourt is a poet, scholar, and author from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He is an Assistant Professor in the School of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of four books: This Wound is a World (2017), winner of the 2018 Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize, NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field (2019), longlisted for Canada Reads 2020, and A History of My Brief Body (2020), finalist for the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction.

Dora Silva Santana is an Assistant Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently working on a book tentatively titled “Iconica: Transing Afro Diasporic Signs.” She has published articles such as “Mais Viva!: Reassembling Blackness, Transness and Feminism” and “Transitionings and Re-turnings: Experiments with the Poetics of Transatlantic Water” in TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly.


2023: Queer & Trans Visions

Dr. Bo Ruberg (they/them) is an associate professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine and the co-editor of the Journal of Cinema and Media Studies. Their research explores gender and sexuality in digital media and digital cultures. They are the author of three monographs: Video Games Have Always Been Queer (NYU Press, 2019), The Queer Games Avant-Garde: How LGBTQ Game Makers Are Reimagining the Medium of Video Games (2020), and Sex Dolls at Sea: Imagined Histories of Sexual Technologies (MIT Press, 2022). They are also the co-editor of Queer Game Studies (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) and Real Life in Real Time: Live Streaming Culture (MIT Press, 2023). 

Shu Lea Cheang is an artist and filmmaker whose work aims to re-envision genders, genres, and operating structures. Her genre-bending, gender-hacking practices challenge the existing operating mechanisms and the boundaries imposed on society, geography, politics, and economic structures. As a net art pioneer, her BRANDON (1998 – 99) was the first web art commissioned and collected by New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Her feature length films, FRESH KILL(1994), I.K.U. (2000) and FLUIDø (2017), respectively termed ecocybernoia, sci-fi cyberpunk, and sci-fi cypherpunk, seek to define a genre of new queer sci-fi cinema. Cheang represented Taiwan with 3x3x6, a mixed media installation at Venice Biennale 2019. She is releasing her 4th feature film, UKI, a SciFi Viral Alt-Reality cinema in 2023. 

micha cárdenas, PhD, is an artist and Associate Professor of Performance, Play & Design, and Critical Race & Ethnic Studies, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she directs the Critical Realities Studio. Her book Poetic Operations (Duke UP 2022) proposes algorithmic analysis as a method for developing a trans of color poetics. Poetic Operations won the Gloria Anzaldúa Book Prize in 2022 from the National Women’s Studies Association. She is co-editor of the book series Queer/Trans/Digital at NYU Press, with Amanda Philips and Bo Ruberg. cárdenas’s co-authored book The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities (2012) was published by Atropos Press. She is currently working on her next academic monograph tentatively titled After Man: Fires, Oceans, and Androids, as well as a multi-disciplinary artwork about climate change’s effects on the oceans and a science fiction novel about the many-worlds interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics. She is a first generation Colombian American. 

Ajamu X is an acclaimed fine art studio based and darkroom led photographic artist working in the UK. His work, theoretical provocations, and aesthetics unapologetically celebrate black queer bodies, the erotic, sex, desire and the politics of pleasure. His black and white images also pose imagination, fiction, and play in opposition to the constant framing of black queer bodies and nuanced lived experiences from within a sociological framework. His work has been shown in many prestigious museums, galleries and alternative spaces around the world and has been published in a wide variety of publications and critical journals. In 2022 he co-founded Spit and Spider Press and received an honorary fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain.

2021: Indigeneities & Sexualities

Audra Simpson (Kahnawake Mohawk) is Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University.

Dayna Danger is a 2Spirit/Queer, Metis/Saulteaux/Polish visual artist who uses photography, sculpture, performance and video to question the lines between empowerment and objectification by claiming space with her larger than life scale work.

Joseph M. Pierce is Associate Professor in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literature at Stony Brook University.

T.J. Tallie is Assistant Professor, History at the University of San Diego.

2020: Queer Futures

Kara Keeling – Associate Professor, Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago

Qwo-Li Driskill – Associate Professor, Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Oregon State University

Kadji Amin – Assistant Professor, Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Emory University

Aimee Bahng – Assistant Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies, Pomona College

2019: Trans/Formations

Riley Snorton – Professor of English Language and Literature, University of Chicago

Aren Aizura – Assistant Professor, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota

Morgan M. Page – Writer and Artist, Creator/Host of One from the Vaults Podcast and Founder of TWAT Fest (Trans Women Arts Toronto)

Alok Vaid-Menon– Artist, Writer, and Activist, Co-founder of Darkmatter Spoken Word Duo

2018: Queer Diasporas/Queer Transnationalisms

Gayatri Gopinath – Associate Professor, New York University

Xavier Livermon – Assistant Professor, University of Texas

Jafari Allen – Associate Professor, University of Miami

Helen Hok-Sze Leung – Professor, Simon Fraser University

2017 Queer Inhumanisms

Dana Luciano – Associate Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Georgetown University

Tavia Nyong’o – Professor in African-American, American Studies & Theatre Studies, Yale University

Mel Y. Chen – Associate Professor in Gender & Women’s Studies and the Director of the Centre for the Study of Sexual Culture, University of California, Berkeley

Eunjung Kim – Assistant Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies, Syracuse University