TAHEREH AGHDASIFAR is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts at Emory University, and the director of the Society for Radical Geography, Spatial Theory, and Everyday Life. Her research engages queer theory, rhythmanalysis, and theories of everyday life to explore the affective possibilities of Tehran’s bra shops as spaces of women’s homosociality.
TRACY BEAR is a Nehiyaw’iskwew academic and member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation located in Northern Saskatchewan. She is an Assistant Professor - cross appointed between the Faculty of Native Studies and Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. Her dissertation, Power in My Blood: Corporeal Sovereignty Through a Praxis of Indigenous Eroticanalysis won the Governor General's Gold Medal for Academic Excellence in 2016. Dr. Bear utilizes decolonial methodologies and epistemologies of Indigenous Studies to research areas of Indigenous Erotics & Erotic analysis; Indigenous Feminism, Gender and Sexuality, Land & Body Politics; and Contemporary Indigenous Art. Since its inception in 2013, Dr. Bear has been a member of the National Collective of Walking With Our Sisters (WWOS) - a memorial art installation to honour and remember over 1600 missing and murdered Indigenous Women, girls and genderful people in Canada. A prison abolitionist, Dr. Bear also works in the area of critical prison studies and develops and teaches Indigenous themed courses in several prisons in Alberta. She is a co-producer of a show called Tipi Confessions with Kim Tallbear, and Kirsten Lindquist. Hosted several times per year, Tipi Confessions is a series of erotically themed storytelling and performance based shows. These events serve as jumping off points for decolonial and critical action based research at the University of Alberta.
BRANDON CALLENDAR is a doctoral candidate in Berkeley English, studying 20th Century American Literature, with a focus on black and queer studies. His current dissertation, History and its Kind: The Sense of Another in Black Gay Literatures looks beyond the queer romance of alterity to explore, instead, how an insistence upon the selfsame – that which is experienced as being overly-familiar – can produce unexpected encounters, affiliations, and differences within the field of black, gay American literatures. He here attends to erotic, visual and syntactical fixations that repeat across the oeuvres of four writers, each of which share different relations to the gay pasts and presents into which they are pressed.
MEL Y. CHEN is Associate Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and an affiliate of the Center for Race and Gender, the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society, and serves as a core member of the Haas Institute’s Disability Studies and LGBTQ Citizenship Clusters. Mel’s research and teaching interests include queer and gender theory, animal studies, critical race theory, Asian American studies, disability studies, science studies, and critical linguistics. Mel’s book Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Duke UP 2012, Alan Bray Memorial Award), explores questions of racialization, queering, disability, and affective economies in animate and inanimate “life.” Further writing can be found in Women’s Studies Quarterly, GLQ, Discourse, Women in Performance, Australian Feminist Studies, Amerasia, and the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies. With series coeditor Jasbir K. Puar, Mel recently inaugurated a new book series called “Anima” highlighting scholarship in critical race and disability post/in/humanisms at Duke University Press. A special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies on “Queer Inhumanisms,” coedited with Dana Luciano, appears in 2015.
KELLY COYNE is a doctoral student in Northwestern's Screen Cultures Program. Her work has appeared in Polygraph, Persuasions, and Literary Hub.
JESS DORRANCE is a writer, curator, and PhD student in Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation work focuses on anti-racist and queer-feminist art and activism and the “deathly sociality” of whiteness. She is the co-editor, with Antke Engel, of the book Bossing Images: The Power of Images, Queer Art, and Politics (NGBK, 2012), which grew out of an eponymous series of experimental events. She is also a long-time team member of the Institute for Queer Theory, Berlin. She holds an MA in Art History, with an emphasis in Gender and Women’s Studies, from McGill University (2014).
QWO-LI DRISKILL is a non-citizen/unenrolled Cherokee Two-Spirit writer, performer, and activist also of African, Irish, Lenape, Lumbee, and Osage ascent. S/he is the author of Asegi Stories: Cherokee Queer and Two-Spirit Memory (University of Arizona), which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in 2017, and Walking with Ghosts: Poems (Salt Publishing). S/he is also the co-editor of Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature with Daniel Health Justice, Deborah Miranda, and Lisa Tatonetti (University of Arizona) and Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature with Chris Finley, Brian Joseph Gilley, and Scott Lauria Morgensen (University of Arizona). S/he is an associate professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University.
ALEX EDELSTEIN is a PhD student in the Communication and Critical Gender Studies programs at UC San Diego. His work considers the intersections of black feminist theories of sexuality and queer of color critique to consider how hip hop music and performance functions as a site for critiquing the normative and imagining new futurities.
NADIA ELLIS is an associate professor in the English Department at UC Berkeley, specializing in literatures and cultures of the black diaspora. Her book, Territories of the Soul: Queered Belonging in the Black Diaspora (Duke, 2015) explores structures of black belonging at the intersection of queer utopianism and diasporic aesthetics. Published and forthcoming essays are on such topics as sexuality and the archive in postwar London, electronic musics and political disaster in Kingston and New Orleans, and performance cultures in contemporary and Emancipation-era Jamaica. She is at work on a new book project about diasporic cities.
ALISON KAFER is professor of feminist studies at Southwestern University, where she also teaches in the environmental studies and race & ethnicity studies programs. She is the author of Feminist, Queer, Crip (Indiana, 2013), and her work has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Disability Studies Quarterly, Feminist Disability Studies, the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Sex and Disability, and South Atlantic Quarterly. She is based in Austin, TX, but is delighted to find herself in California this week.
SAVANNAH J. KILNER is a doctoral candidate in Gender Studies at UCLA and a predoctoral fellow in the Ralph E. Bunche Center for African American Studies. Her dissertation, "Pride and Property: Queer Settler Colonialism, Blackness, and the Landed Politics of Solidarity," asks how practices and imaginings of queer space interact with multiple, overlapping modes of dispossession in the U.S. colonial present.
DINAH LENSING-SHARP is a graduate student in the Comparative Literature department at UC Berkeley. They study depictions of gender and sexuality in literature and film, focusing particularly on the Weimar Republic as well as modernist literature by women writers in both German and French. Theoretically, Dinah is interested in the intersections of queer, postcolonial, and decolonial epistemologies and how race informs discourses around sexuality in late 19th- and early 20th-century German literature. Dinah is also a translator from German and French into English.
CALEB LUNA is a writer, activist, teacher, performer, fat babe and Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley, where their work broadly explores the intersections of fatness, desire, white supremacy and colonialism from a queer of color lens. Their current project focuses on the mutually constitutive relationship between bodies and discourse. You can find more of their writing on Black Girl Dangerous, Everyday Feminism and The Body Is Not An Apology.
AJUAN MANCE is a Professor of African American literature at Mills College and a lifelong artist and writer. Ajuan's comics and zines include Gender Studies, The Little Book of Big, Black Bears; A Blues for Black Santa; and the 1001 Black Men series, featuring images from the online portrait series of the same name. Ajuan has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as comic and zine fests, from the Bay Area to Brooklyn. Both her scholarly writings and her comics and zines explore the relationship between race, gender, and representation, specifically as it applies to people of African descent in the U.S. Ajuan is partly inspired by her teaching and research in U.S. Black literature and history. Here most recent book, Before Harlem: An Anthology of African-American Literature from the Long Nineteenth Century, was published in 2016.
LIZ MONTEGARY is an assistant professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Stony Brook University. She is the co-editor of Mobile Desires: The Politics and Erotics of Mobility Justice (Palgrave, 2015) and the author of Familiar Perversions: The Racial, Sexual, and Economic Politics of LGBT Families (Rutgers, forthcoming 2018).
AMBER JAMILLA MUSSER is associate professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies at Washington University in St Louis. Her research is at the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality studies. Dr. Musser has also published widely on race and critical theory, queer femininities and race, race and sexuality, and queer of color critique. She has an MSt in Women's Studies from Oxford University and received her PhD in History of Science from Harvard University. She has previously taught gender studies at New York University and Brown University. She is also the author of Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism (NYU Press, 2014), which uses masochism as a lens to theorize different felt relationships to power. The book brings together debates on masochism within feminism, discussions of masochism from psychoanalysis and critiques of colonialism, literary presentations of masochism, and performance and visual art that draws on masochism's repertoire in order to make an argument about the relationship between sensation and knowledge production and the racialization of our current episteme of sexuality. She is also a co-editor along with Kadji Amin and Roy Pérez of Queer Form a special issue of ASAP Journal on aesthetics and queer of color critique. Currently, she is finishing a monograph, Sensual Excess: Queer Femininity and Brown Jouissance, which uses women of color's aesthetic labors to re-imagine epistemologies of sexuality so that they center brown femininity. This project received the Arts Writer's Grant from the Warhol Foundation in 2017 and will be published by NYU Press in Fall 2018.
DEVI PEACOCK is the founding Artistic and Executive Director of Peacock Rebellion, a trans femme of color -centered, Oakland-based crew that uses the arts to heal from trauma and end violence within and against queer and trans communities of color. Devi is part of the QTPOC4SHO arts collective, an advisory board member of the Resilience Archives, and a core organizer with #Liberate23rdAve, a campaign to turn a longtime queer and trans POC block in East Oakland into a land trust for the next 100 years.
KARA PLAXA: My research is structured around the places where sex happens and how sex is spatialized. I am currently investigating the spaces of the kink community with an emphasis on queer sexuality. I am also interested in aesthetics, materiality, and fashion. I aim to enrich current discourse on gender and sexuality through architsexture. I completed my Masters of Architecture at Wentworth Institute of Technology as well as my B.S. in Architecture and practiced design at General Dynamics Electric Boat designing the Ohio Class nuclear submarine. I am also a rugby player for the Berkeley All Blues.
POPPERS THE PONY is a visual artist and entrepreneur. Poppers founded the Pony Ass Press in 2008 which publishes the newspaper Poppers Shopper: for the Adventurous Animal and Insect, the 8-page serial comics, Kid Unfriendly and titles such as the Animal Sex Coloring Book. Her art projects and newspaper typically focus on issues of human perception of non-human sexuality, gendering of behaviors and bodies, smut and helping animals reach their full pleasure potentials. Poppers received an MFA from Stanford University. She lives in Oakland with her veterinarian, Doctor Meow.
HEATHER RASTOVAC AKBARZADEH is the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies at Stanford University. She earned her Ph.D. in Performance Studies from UC Berkeley with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Her research examines the racialized and gendered economies of Iranian dance and performance art in transnational art markets and among diasporic audiences in North America and Western Europe.
MARGO RIVERA-WEISS has lived in the SF Bay Area since 1964. They entered UCB in 1978, the same year they came out as queer. Margo is an artist and illustrator who lives in Oakland.
GEMMA ROMAIN is an independent historian specialising in Caribbean and Black British history, with a particular interest in archives and queer Black British histories. She has curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions and displays relating to Caribbean and Black British history including the 2014-2015 Tate Britain display ‘Spaces of Black Modernism: London 1919–39’, co-curated with Caroline Bressey. She is the author of the book Race, Sexuality and Identity in Britain and Jamaica: The Biography of Patrick Nelson, 1916-1963 (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017) and has been awarded a 2018 Paul Mellon Centre Mid-Career Fellowship for her new project Berto Pasuka and Queer Black British Art.
NAYAN SHAH is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity and History at the University of Southern California. His research examines historical struggles over bodies, space and the exercise of state power from the mid-19th to the 21st century. His scholarship has contributed to race and sexuality studies to the history of migration, health, law and governance. Shah is the author of two award-winning books Stranger Intimacy: Contesting Race, Sexuality and the Law in the North American West (University of California Press, 2011) and Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown (University of California Press, 2001). His current book project, Refusal to Eat examines mass prison hunger strikes from 1909 to 2017 and how bodily defiance struggles across the globe challenged carceral institutions and precipitated crises of medical care.
AMY SUEYOSHI is Associate Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. Her research lies at the intersection of Asian American studies and sexuality studies. She is the author of Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Intimate Life of Yone Noguchi and Discriminating Sex: White Leisure and the Making of the American “Oriental” just out with University of Illinois Press. Her essay on API queer history titled “Breathing Fire” appeared in the National Parks Foundation’s historic LGBTQ theme study in 2016. She is a founding co-curator of the GLBT History Museum, the first queer history museum in the United States, and the recipient of the Willie Walker Award for service to the GLBT Historical Society. She also seeded the Dragon Fruit Project, a community oral history project for API Equality Northern California, a queer Asian Pacific Islander advocacy group in San Francisco Chinatown. Last year, Amy was a Community Grand Marshal at San Francisco Pride and was honored with the Clio award for her contribution to queer history.
TINA TAKEMOTO is an artist and scholar whose work explores the hidden dimensions of same-sex intimacy and queer sexuality for Japanese Americans incarcerated by the US government during World War II. Takemoto has presented artwork nationally and internationally and has received grants from Art Matters, Fleishhacker Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, and San Francisco Arts Commission. Takemoto serves on the board of Queer Cultural Center and is co-founder of Queer Conversations on Culture and the Arts. She is associate professor at California College of the Arts, where she will serve as the Dean of Humanities and Sciences starting fall 2018.
OMISE'EKE TINSLEY is Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and Associate Director of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas, Austin, where she teaches “Beyoncé Feminism, Rihanna Womanism” each spring. Her research focuses on queer and feminist, Caribbean and African American performance and literature. In November 2018, University of Texas Press will release her Beyoncé in Formation: Remixing Black Feminism, a black femme-inist reading of Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Her recently published second monograph, Ezili’s Mirrors: Black Queer Genders and the Work of the Imagination (2018), explores spirituality and sexuality in 21st century black queer literature, dance, music and film from the Caribbean and African North America. In addition to Thiefing Sugar: Eroticism Between Women in Caribbean Literature (2010), she has published articles in journals including GLQ, TSQ, Feminist Studies, Yale French Studies, and Small Axe. A registered yoga instructor, she teaches Vinyasa yoga and leads yoga workshops entitled “Sister Sutras: Yoga Philosophy and Practice for Black Women” to all-black, all-woman playlists that always include Beyoncé.
QIAN WANG is a music-sociologist with a PhD from the Institute of Popular Music, the University of Liverpool. His research is mainly focused on Chinese popular music and cultural scenes in China. He particularly examines how sexuality, gender, and queer issues in popular music subtly trigger various social movements since 1979. He is the author of Rock Crisis: Research on Chinese Rock Music in the Middle 1990s. As a cultural consultant of Ibsen International, he co-produced an Award-winning modern dance program Disco-TECA, which reflects the Disco Fever and the sexual revolution between 1985 and 2015.
GLORIA WEKKER is a social and cultural anthropologist, with specializations in Gender Studies, Sexuality, African - American and Caribbean Studies (UvA 1982, UCLA 1992). She was a professor in Gender Studies at the Faculty of the Humanities, Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and since 2012 she is emerita. She wrote The Politics of Passion; Women's Sexual Culture in the Afro-Surinamese Diaspora (Columbia University Press, 2006), for which she received the Ruth Benedict Prize of American Anthropological Association in 2007. In 2016 White Innocence: Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race in the Netherlands (Duke University Press) created quite a stir in the Netherlands. Wekker has advised the Dutch government on minority, health and women’s emancipation policies. In 2015 and 2016, she was a member of the Democratization and Decentralization Commission and the chair of the Diversity Commission at the University of Amsterdam. In 2017, she was elected one of the ten most influential Dutch academics by Science Guide, and she received the prestigious, governmental Joke Smit Prize for her efforts for women’s Emancipation.