The Center for the Study of Sexual Culture was founded in 2001 to support research and critical conversations concerning sexuality, sexual culture, and their mutually determining relationship to institutions, social practices and norms, and modes of representation. We understand sexuality to essentially inform diverse fields of social life, such as the state, the economy, civil society, family forms, social identity, and the cultural modes of representation. We draw from a broad field of scholarship in which sexuality is found to participate in discussions as far-reaching as: reproductive control and rights, heredity, marriage, nationalism, welfare systems, property, adoption, animal ethnographies, colonial imaginaries and administrations, performance, language norms, gendered ways and styles, disability politics and culture, visual cultures, materialities, and more.

The Queerness and Games Conference

Co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture

QGCon_bgsky_sizedThe CSSC is co-sponsoring the second annual Queerness and Games Conference, a free, weekend-long, interdisciplinary event held Oct. 25-26, 2014 on the UC Berkeley campus. The goal of QGCon is to create an open and inclusive environment for discussing the intersection of video games and LGBTQ issues, however you define them. QGCon brings together academics and game developers to foster dialogues that break traditional disciplinary boundaries. The QGCon organizers believe in the importance of creativity and play as tools for intellectual and personal exploration.

The theme for this year’s QGcon is Difference at Play. Some questions inspired by the theme might include: What does it mean to play differently? What does it mean to play at difference itself? In what way can “difference” speaks to questions of race, gender, and sexuality for games and those who play them?

Co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture. This event is free and open to the public.  For more information, see the conference website.


Archives, Bedrooms, and the Future of Yiddish

Zohar Weiman-Kelman, Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Toronto

zoharThis talk will present Zohar Weiman-Kelman’s ongoing project of generating an erotic Yiddish archive.  This archive, anchored in the potential of non-normative and non-reproductive sex(ualities), queerly celebrates Yiddish in the bedroom. Indeed, as Ann Cvetkovich writes, the bedroom is the space of the queer archive. Broadening the implications of identifying the archive with the bedroom, this talk will look at two archival projects that set out to collect sexual vocabulary in Yiddish, one from the early stages of the language and one from its later (and perhaps final) stages. It will then consider how the language of sexuality offers an alternative mode of accessing history and making space for it in the present. Finally, Weiman-Kelman will examine how the queer Yiddish archive reorients Derrida’s view of the archive as “a movement of the promise and of the future no less than recording the past,” by calling into question the coming of the future. She suggests that like queer sex, the queer Yiddish archive can breed new histories, and give us pleasure now.

Zohar Weiman-Kelman holds the Anne Tanenbaum Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. She was born and raised in West Jerusalem, where she received her B.A. in Hebrew and Yiddish literature. She completed her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality at UC Berkeley in 2012. Her research has led her to learn Yiddish, German and Polish, and she is deeply engaged in queer and feminist communities in Berlin, Warsaw and Israel/Palestine. Zohar is currently completing her first book manuscript, “What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting: Jewish Women’s Poetry 1880-1990.” This work brings together queer theory’s questioning of futurity with the challenge posed by Yiddish to reproductive heteronormative cultural transmission, to tell a new story of the Jewish past. She has also begun a new project, “Philology, Sexology, and the Future of Yiddish,” looking at the intersections of Yiddish language and sexuality.

This talk is free and open to the public. Organized by the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture. Co-sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of Comparative Literature.



Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, & Other Latina Longings

Professor Juana María Rodríguez in conversation with Xandra Ibarra/La Chica Boom

PSexual Futures Coverlease join the CSSC-sponsored Queer of Color Working Group for a conversation with Professor Juana María Rodríguez and Bay Area performance and video artist Xandra Ibarra/La Chica Boom on Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings, Professor Rodríguez’s new book (NYU Press, July 2014). Discussion will focus on Chapter 2, “Latina Sexual Fantasies, the Remix,” which features Ibarra’s work. For a pdf of the chapter and to join the Queer of Color Working Group mailing list, email Brandon Callender, <brandon.callender@berkeley.edu>  or  Giancarlo Cornejo, <cornejo@berkeley.edu>. This event is free and open to the public.

Juana María Rodríguez is Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at UC Berkeley. Her research interests inclue sexuality studies, queer activism in a transnational American context, critical race theory, technology and media arts, and Latin@ and Caribbean studies. She is the author of Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces (NYU Press, 2003). Her new book, Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures and Other Latina Longings (NYU Press, 2014), is described below. She is currently working on a third book project that considers the intersection of age, sexuality, race and visual culture.

Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures and Other Latina Longings proposes a theory of sexual politics that works in the interstices between radical queer desires and the urgency of transforming public policy, between utopian longings and everyday failures. Considering the ways in which bodily movement is assigned cultural meaning, Juana María Rodríguez takes the stereotypes of the hyperbolically gestural queer Latina femme body as a starting point from which to discuss how gestures and forms of embodiment inform sexual pleasures and practices in the social realm. For more on the book, click here.


photo by Julio Pantoja

Xandra Ibarra/La Chica Boom is an Oakland-based performance and video artist from the El Paso/Juarez border who performs and works under the alias of La Chica Boom. La Chica Boom is a performance art project that uses hyper-raciality/sexuality/gender as an expericne based mode of inquiry into my relationship coloniality, compulsory whiteness and Mexicanidad. Ibarra uses video, objects, photography and sex acts to evoke comedy and melancholic racial and sexual expectation. Her aim is to amplify gendered and racialized iconography and make such problematic constructions via spectacle more transparent to the spectator‚—what she calls spictacles—spectacles of degeneracy and power that are both against and engaged in the colonial gaze.


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