The Tenth Annual Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Lecture:

The Epistemology of the Pandemic:

Contagion, Control, Community

A Virtual Symposium

Presented by the Boston University Gender & Sexuality Studies Group

March 12, 2021

Queer studies emerged very much alongside and through the AIDS crisis.

Now, in the face of another global pandemic:

What have we learned?

How will Queer Studies Change?

View a captioned recording of the symposium here.

Date:  Friday, March 12 

Panel 1: 11-12:30

Queer Co-Morbidities: Approaches to Harm Reduction and the Criminalization of Illness 

How might queer critiques of the criminalization and surveillance of sexuality and illness, of public health approaches, and the deployment of sexual shame and pride, help us to navigate the pandemic? How can we apply lessons from the HIV/AIDS epidemic to move beyond the binaristic approach to covid in policy and public discourse (safe/unsafe, mask/no mask, social distancing/social irresponsibility)? Three scholars of the history and sociology of public health ask how queer critiques of healthism, regulatory regimes, biopower, and surveillance apply in the case of covid-19.

Moderator: Cati Connell, Boston University

Trevor Hoppe, UNC Greensboro

Jennifer Brier, University of Illinois, Chicago

Jih-Fei Cheng, Scripps College

Panel 2: 1:30-3:00

Distance and Intimacy: Risk, Pleasure, Policing

What does queer studies have to teach about how to confront a global pandemic that puts distance between us when what we need most is community? This panel brings together a queer theologian, a theorist of new media, a scholar of race and sexuality, and a psychoanalytic thinker to discuss what the queer community’s experience of the AIDS epidemic has to teach us about life in a pandemic. How can intimacy and community be preserved in a pandemic?

Linn Tonstad, Yale Divinity School

Margaret Rhee, SUNY Buffalo

Kevin Mumford, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Tim Dean, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Moderator: Anthony Petro, Boston University

3:30-4:45: Roundtable Discussion with all speakers and participants

To register for the symposium and for the Zoom link, go here.

Sponsored by: The Boston University Center for the Humanities and the NEH Humanities Professorship