Call for Papers – Queering sustainability and ‚quality of life‘, London Aug. 07

RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2007
‚Sustainability and Quality of Life‘
28th – 31st August 2007

at the Royal Geographical Society with IBG, London

Convenors: Gavin Brown, Cate Mortimer-Sandilands and Adam Kaasa

Sponsored by: the Space, Sexualities and Queer Working Group

Geographers of sexualities commonly offer social and cultural geographies of sexual identities and sexualised spaces. Occasionally, we address the economic geographies of these spaces, but we seldom, if ever, stop to consider their ecologies and ecological impact. Similarly, although we have analyzed the sexual construction of urban and rural spaces, the nation state
and globalisation, amongst many more geographic spaces and processes, little attention has been paid to the ways in which debates around social and environmental sustainability, as well as ‚quality of life‘ discourses, are sexed and sexualised. In British and American contexts, ‚quality of life‘ discourses clearly have sexual and moral geographies of their own – they have been used as a justification for the displacement of street prostitutes (Hubbard and Saunders 2003) and the closure of sex businesses (Serlin 1997; Delany 1999), often as a prelude to gentrification rather than more sustainable forms of development.

On the other hand, cultural and political ecologists have paid scant attention to questions of sex and sexuality. At one moment, there are heteronormative, family-oriented assumptions underpinning many models of sustainability (Stein, 2004; Sandilands, 2005). In addition, the specifically sexual dynamics of „nature“ spaces offer interesting glimpses of the social desires for nature that underscore many movements toward environmental sustainability (Ingram, Bouthillette and Retter, 1997; Boag, 2003).

This session will critically engage with the sexual assumptions underpinning debates surrounding sustainability, the sexual norms that underpin quality of life discourse, and the lacunae surrounding the ecological impact of those spaces commonly studied by sexual geographers – and vice versa.

Papers might consider (but should not be limited by) the following topics:

  • The relative un/sustainability of consumption practices promoted through the commercial gay scene and the gay media.
  • Experiments in creating queer eco-communities
  • Queer as an example of the ‚edge effect‘ in permaculture
  • Explorations of heteronormative assumptions within ‚quality of
    life‘ and environmental discourses
  • Queering debates about work-life balance
  • Queer encounters with eco-feminism and environmental justice
  • The sexual geographies of practices of sustainability
  • The sexual politics of nature-spaces, historically and in the present
  • The elaboration of non-reproductive understandings of time and
    space in discourses of sustainability
  • Queer articulations of sexuality with global environmental politics

Abstracts of not more than 200 words should be submitted to by 9th February 2007 (note extended deadline).

Gavin, Cate and Adam

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