This roundtable asks what queer studies might offer to an analysis of debates on campus safety. New approaches in queer studies take as their object of study not only sex and gender but also the cultural politics of liberalism; in turn, scholarship on the geopolitics of injury demonstrates the situatedness of both identity and economic forms. Brought together, these scholarly approaches provide an important lens on many of the contradictions of contemporary college campuses. Rendering classrooms and other places on campus as intrinsically embedded in global relations of militarization, securitization, dispossession, and risk management, “safe space” is elaborated in this roundtable in material, administrative, and pragmatic terms: from the conceptualization of alert systems to the racialized fears driving insurance calculations for international study programs to the struggles over academic freedom and student organizing.
Beyond Trigger Warnings: Safety, Securitization, and Queer Left Critique
Christina B. Hanhardt is associate professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is the author of Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence (2013).
Jasbir K. Puar is professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of two award-winning books, The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability (2017) and Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (2007), which was re-released in 2017 as a tenth anniversary expanded edition and has been translated into Spanish and French. Currently she is working on a third book, Slow Life: Settler Colonialism in Five Parts.
Neel Ahuja teaches in the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies program and the Department of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Bioinsecurities: Disease Interventions, Empire, and the Government of Species (2016).
Paul Amar, professor in the Department of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is a political scientist and anthropologist and is director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies. His book The Security Archipelago (2013) was awarded the Charles Taylor Award for best book of the year in 2014.
Aniruddha Dutta is associate professor of gender, women’s, and sexuality studies at the University of Iowa. Dutta’s research interests include transnational sexualities, globalization, development, political economy, and the institutionalization of gender and sexual politics in India. Their work has appeared in journals such as TSQ, the International Feminist Journal of Politics, Gender and History, and South Asian History and Culture. Dutta also works as a volunteer and advisor with several collectives of gender-nonconforming communities such as kothis and hijras in eastern India.
Fatima El-Tayeb is professor of literature and ethnic studies at the University of California, San Diego. Her work deconstructs structural racism in “colorblind” Europe and centers strategies of resistance among racialized communities, especially those that politicize culture through an inter-sectional, queer practice. She is the author of three books and numerous articles on the interactions of race, gender, sexuality, religion, and nation.
Kwame Holmes is faculty adviser with Bard Prison Initiative and scholar-in-residence in the Human Rights Program at Bard College. He is a historian of the modern United States and studies the emotional politics and economies of cities, social movements, and digital culture. His work has been published in Radical History Review, the collections No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies (2016) and The Routledge Queer History of America (2018), and Black Perspectives, the online blog of the African American Intellectual History Society, where he also serves on the editorial board.
Sherene Seikaly is associate professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her book Men of Capital: Scarcity and Economy in Mandate Palestine (2016) explores economy, territory, the home, and the body. Her forthcoming book From Baltimore to Beirut: On the Question of Palestine tells a global history of capital, slavery, and dispossession.
Christina B. Hanhardt, Jasbir K. Puar, Neel Ahuja, Paul Amar, Aniruddha Dutta, Fatima El-Tayeb, Kwame Holmes, Sherene Seikaly; Beyond Trigger Warnings: Safety, Securitization, and Queer Left Critique. Social Text 1 December 2020; 38 (4 (145)): 49–76. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-8680438
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