Why (Queer) History Matters – Watch it all.

Censorship. Illustration by Eric Drooker.
Censorship. Illustration by Eric Drooker.
International, interdisciplinary conference, 29–30 August 2022 at the University of Bergen, Norway.

Neglect and erasure of queer history has been the norm in all national histories until quite recently. In this conference we address how this highly problematic practice of history can also enable the eradication of LGBT+ rights in contemporary societies. For, in some places LGBT communities are seen as a national threat while in others, homo-tolerance is instrumentalized to build national self-identity. In both cases, interest in and knowledge of queer history is usually absent.

the speakers.jpg

The speakers, clockwise from top left: Assistant Professor Hadley Z. Renkin, Professor Dan Healey, Professor Sylvia Tamale, Akkai Padmashali, Indian transgender activist, Executive Director Jayna Kothari, Executive Director C. Anzio Jacobs, Assistant Professor Evren Savci, Professor Emerita Susan Stryker, Professor Javier Corrales, Professor Tone Hellesund.
In this conference we therefore ask: How are national histories cleansed of unwanted elements? What role does ignorance and censorship play? Can the lack of knowledge of queer history be fundamental to contemporary oppression of queers? If so, what can be done to preserve and disseminate queer histories?

In this conference we hear reflections and examples on how and why queer history matters in different contexts. Norway officially opened its national queer archive here in Bergen in 2015, and queer history is slowly starting to appear as a legitimate academic field in line with other academic fields of research also in Norway.

Direct links to the speakers:

Day one.

Welcome by Margareth Hagen, Rector at the University of Bergen

CHAIR: Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, Professor of Social Anthropology and Academic Director of the Holberg Prize, University of Bergen

Norway & the queer history context – the Norwegian Queer archive by Tone Hellesund, Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Bergen

The roots of Russian homophobia, and why historical research matters by Dan Healey, Professor of Russian History, University of Oxford

Queer history and neoliberal Islam by Evren Savci, Assistant Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Yale University

Postsocialist homophobia and the lesson of histories past, present, and future by Hadley Z. Renkin, Assistant Professor in Gender Studies, Central European University

Panel discussion: Culture wars and queer history. Participants: Dan Healey,  Evren Savci and Hadley Z. Renkin. Chair: Ingunn Lunde, Professor in Russian Language and Culture, University of Bergen 

Day two.

CHAIR: Andrea Vige Grønningsæter, PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, University of Bergen

Queer archives and activism in India by Jayna Kothari, Executive Director at Centre for Law & Policy Research and Akkai Padmashali, Indian transgender activist

White words & violence: A queer African herstory by C. Anzio Jacobs, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Scope Non-Profit Organisation, South Africa

Queer history in the USA. The development of trans history and the uses of transgender history for the present by Susan Stryker, Professor Emerita of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona & Stanford University Humanities Center External Faculty Fellow (2022-23)

Panel discussion: Trans histories in a global perspective. Participants:  Jayna Kothari, Akkai Padmashali, C. Anzio Jacobs and Susan Stryker. Chair: Angana P. Chatterji, Research Anthropologist at the Center for Race and Gender at University of California, Berkeley

CHAIR: Ana Côrtes, PhD candidate at the Centre on Law and Social Transformation, University of Bergen

The politics of sexuality in Latin America by Javier Corrales, Professor of Political Science at Amherst College

Sexualities and the uses of history in different African contexts by Sylvia Tamale, Professor of Law, Makerere University

Panel discussion: The promise and future of queer history making. All speakers are welcome to attend the discussion. Chair:  Matt Cook, Professor of Modern History, Birkbeck, London University


1/3 CONFERENCE: Why (Queer) History Matters: The Politics of History

Watch on YouTube Day one.

2/3 CONFERENCE: Why (Queer) History Matters: The Politics of History

Watch on YouTube Day two, part one.

3/3 CONFERENCE: Why (Queer) History Matters: The Politics of History

Watch on YouTube Day two, part two.