A one-day workshop at King’s College, London on Saturday 17 May 2014
Long before queer theory was invented in California, Paris experienced its own revolutionary moment of radical homosexual critique, centered around the activism of the fabled FHAR (Front Homosexuel d’Action Révolutionnaire) and the seminal, Ur-Queer publication that was Hocquenghem’s Le Désir homosexuel. Some forty years hence, and with Hocquenghem becoming progressively more lionized in Anglo-American queer contexts, how does the current French queer ‘milieu’ position itself with regard to its pre-history ? This question becomes especially pertinent since the advent and propagation of the notion of homonationalism, first established by Jasbir Puar in the US context, has reached queer France and may yet cause (if it is not already causing) far-reaching reverberations. In a national/cultural context where Universalism looms large over identity politics and over queer critique, is the intersection between race, class and sexuality likely to boost the queer struggle ? Or has a deterritorialised queer energy effectively cancelled out the radical yet suspect past, and thus looped the loop of Universalism and its resistance ?
This is the context for the workshop on May 17, at King’s College, London, which will have two autonomous yet interconnected parts. The morning is dedicated to a historical and critical consideration of the ‘pre-historical’ queer moment of the revolutionary seventies, including presentations on the FHAR and Hocquenghem, as well as a rare opportunity to watch a little-seen documentary film on the FHAR, produced by Carole Roussopoulos. In the afternoon, French queer thinkers and activists of the present day reflect on the past and present of queer critique in France, and attempt, in particular, to situate current work in relation to homonationalism and related ideas – with Jasbir Puar herself attending and responding to presentations.