Second CIRQUE Conference

Second CIRQUE (Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca Queer – Inter-University Center for Queer Research) conference

Performativity: Pasts, Presents, and Futures

Pisa, June 28-30, 2019

From Gender Trouble onwards, performativity has proved to be a crucial theoretical tool for queer theories and practices. The deontologization of categories, and their unmasking as mere iterations of performances, is at the heart not only of queer’s long-standing and productive antinormative focus, but also of a number of recent theoretical proposals, which question the centrality of antinormativity in queer theory.

The purpose of the conference is to open up a space for a reflection on performativity from a variety of angles and perspectives, and with a variety of aims.

One important aspect are the several possible genealogies of the concept. The canonical Austin-Derrida-Butler lineage is but one of the possible pasts of performativity; alternative ones could include the sociological concepts of “role”, “career”, and “dramaturgy”; Harvey Sacks’s “doing ‘being ordinary’”; the inter- and trans-disciplinary centrality of intersubjectivity; and of course many more.

Another issue we hope will prove of interest to participants is the variety and multiplicity of present contexts in which references to performativity are, or could prove to be, useful, pertinent and enlightening, both theoretically and politically. We would like “performativity” to be understood, and to work, as a meta-topic bridging gaps and suggesting connections between and among a multiplicity of queer concerns and issues.

We particularly welcome contributions focusing on situations where a “credible” or “suitable” performance is required or exacted from a vulnerable subject as a prerequisite to acknowledging their existence, or of granting them rights. Two cases of particularly urgent relevance are the way migrant or transgender subjects are required to prove themselves to government or medical officials through a performance of “migrant” or “transgender identity” which ticks the boxes required by the official definition of their predicament, and which in many cases not only does not do justice to the peculiarities of their individual experiences and condition, but which contributes to the reification of stereotypes.

A (far from exhaustive) list of well-established queer theories/queer studies areas which could benefit from highlighting the performative components of their topics of interest could include:

  • Queer Embodiments
  • Animal Queer
  • Neuroqueer and Neurodiversity
  • The Queer Politics of Migration
  • Queer Legal Theory
  • Queer Economies
  • Queer Pedagogies
  • Queer Genealogies: History, Memory, Identities
  • Queering Categories of Race
  • Queer Crip
  • Transnational and Cross-Cultural Queerness
  • Queer Pornographies
  • Queer Kinship
  • Queer and Posthuman
  • Queer Heterosexualities
  • Queer Literature
  • Queer Literary Theory
  • Queer Literary Criticism
  • Queer and Mainstream Culture
  • Queer Temporalities
  • Queer Spatialities
  • Queer Ontologies
  • Queer Phenomenologies
  • Queer and Post-Queer
  • Queer Ethics
  • Queer Feminisms
  • Queer Activisms
  • Queer Anarchisms
  • Queer Hermeneutics
  • Queer Cinema
  • Queer Media

The third prong of our call concerns the possible role of performativity in shaping the future of queer theories and studies, both by suggesting new areas of inquiry and political action, and by transforming existing epistemologies and practices.

As well as an opportunity for global, multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinary reflections on performativity, defined in the broadest and most inclusive terms, the conference aims to queer the very modalities through which knowledge and cultural practices are articulated, shared, discussed and validated, within and beyond the academic environment. We welcome intercultural and interdisciplinary approaches and invite proposals for papers, panels, round-table sessions, thematic workshops, performances and other queerings of formats. Participants interested in proposing non-conventional activities should spell out their requirements for space, time and equipment clearly in their submission.

All presenters will subsequently have the option to submit a revised version of their papers to Whatever, the peer-reviewed, open access, international online journal of CIRQUE (the first issue is available here : The relevant issue of Whatever will be published by Spring 2020.

If you are interested in participating, please send a 300-word abstract (for papers) or a 2-page outline for other activity formats (round-tables, workshops, performances…), together with a brief bio (including contact details) to

The working language of the conference will be English; however, one of the parallel sessions will accommodate participants who would rather present their work in Italian; if this is your preference, please submit your abstract in Italian.

The deadline for abstracts submission is February, 28, 2019. Participants will be notified of acceptance by March, 15, 2019.

The time allotted for individual papers in parallel sessions will be 30 minutes. Time slots for other activity formats will be negotiated with the participants who submit proposals for panels, round tables, workshops , or performances.

Conference registration will be E150 for tenured faculty, E75 for everyone else; this will include buffet lunches.

All food at the conference will be vegan, not only because of the sizable intersection between queer and animal rights theorists and activists, but because this policy makes it possible to provide for a number of dietary requirements in the most practical way. If you have additional food issues we should be considering, please contact us and we will do our best to accommodate them.

Pisa airport is an international air travel hub, with most European low-cost companies flying there in the spring and summer at least several times a week; the city is also easy to reach by train from all over Europe. Like all popular tourist destinations, Pisa offers a wealth of budget accommodation options, from hostels to rooms in private homes. Early reservations are essential.

A PDF version of this call is available here: CIRQUE conference 2019 call REVISED Exp0228