Summer School for Sexualities, Cultures and Politics, 15-20 August 2016, Belgrade, Serbia

Publish Date: Jan 15, 2016

Deadline: Mar 15, 2016

Event Dates: from Aug 15, 2016 12:00 to Aug 20, 2016 12:00

Summer School for Sexualities, Cultures and Politics

The Summer School for Sexualities, Cultures, and Politics is permanent project, originally initiated by the Department for Gender Studies at the Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities “Euro-Balkan”, Skopje, Macedonia and the Faculty of Media and Communications - Singidunum, Belgrade, Serbia. In 2014, the School has moved to and was taken up organizationally by IPAK Center.

The general aim of the School is to gather young post-graduate students, scholars and teaching staff from both Eastern and Western Europe and promote a shared platform for research and trans-disciplinary theoretical reflection on the complex modes of interweaving sexuality, culture and politics, and consequently of exchanging and questioning geopolitically determined discourses in the research of sexualities, gender studies, and queer theory. Our idea is to provide students, scholars and teachers with the opportunity to question, decenter and democratize these areas by way of deferring the notion of theoretical and geopolitical privilege which is often implied by these research areas, and thus to introduce new models of rethinking context-specific phenomena related to sexualities and, vice versa, to enrich theoretical paradigms with context specific phenomena and research.

In this way, the School’s long-term goal is to

(1) strategically stimulate the particularization and application of key ideas and theories in sexuality research locally, and to

(2) universalize and popularize crucial and underprivileged positions and ideas on the European level, regardless of the East/West divide which is still central to the development of queer theory and sexuality research.

Our endeavor is not to relativize the embeddedness and situatedness of knowledges about sexualities, but to recognize and disrupt the existing invisible borders that obstruct the free dissemination of ideas as they are being determined by various hegemonic forces – political, educational, economic - in both Eastern and Western contexts of doing academic and artistic work related with our desires, bodies, and sexualities.



On the Inconvenience of Other People (15-16 Aug)

Lecture 1: Sex in the Event of Happiness (for SSSCP students only)

This lecture thinks with Last Tango in Paris and the general desire to separate out considerations of sexuality from movement imaginaries for social change in the post-60s west. It asks how transforming sexuality might induce unlearning attachments to historical reproduction that fix the world in a calcified realism: it is about the violence of unlearning even cruel attachments. It is a propositional talk, a talk on behalf of learning from experiments, jokes, heuristics, produced from the middle of violence.

Lecture 2: On Being in Life without Wanting the World: Living in Ellipsis (Open Lecture, mandatory for SSSCP students)

This lecture continues the work on unlearning cruel optimism of the previous lecture, focusing on dissociation as a way of remaining attached to life. Reading with Claudia Rankine (Don’t Let Me Be Lonely), the novel and film of A Single Man(Christopher Isherwood, 1964; Tom Ford, 2009), and Harryette Mullen (Sleeping with the Dictionary), it describes an aesthetics and a subjectivity shaped on one side by suicide and on the other by a life drive that is also, paradoxically, negative, in that it turns toward life by turning away from the world of injury, negation, and contingency that endure as a defining presence for biopolitically-defined subjects. It suggests attending to and developing a dissociative poetics.


Abstraction - Sex - Automation (16-17 Aug)

Lecture 1: Automation and Gender

In Western culture the distinction between techne and philosophy, automated machines and thinking can be said to subtend the articulation of gender as bound to a form of instrumental reasoning that prevents feminist, queer and gender politics to become philosophical or conceptual. The first part of this class will unpack the relation between automated machines and instrumental reasoning. The history of automated machines shows us that instrumentality sides with task-oriented functions that can reliably be repeated, without error. This demonstrative use of machines, from mechanical to cybernetic to computational machines, however implicitly contains a gender-technology alliance able to reject the presumed givenness that grounds gender to nature. Whilst nature is instinctual and indeterminate, automated machines are determinate and final. The gender-automation alliance will be then explored as a concrete possibility of articulating a politics of machines that engages with the rejection of the “myth of the given.” The history of automation, it will be argued, already marks the beginning of a gender politics that is not only denaturalized from the biological strata, but also, and importantly, from the ontological split between thinking and instrumentality. One way of developing a productive view of instrumentality is offered by contemporary American pragmatism, and the theorization of use in terms of use-meaning. This last point of discussion will be further contextualized and developed in the subsequent class Artificial Intelligence and Sex.
During this class, we will look at examples of automated machines in history and will use films (from the Stepford Wives to Ex-Machina).

Lecture 2: Artificial Intelligence and Sex

Central to critical theory is the rejection that technoscientific epistemology, accused of rationalising material relations, grounds the ontological condition of thought, reducing possible configurations of political subjectivity mainly to what can be known, measured, calculated. If being follows the technoscientific explanation of what being is, it is argued that the political project for political thought is destined to fail. This anti-technoscientific view aims to preserve ontological autonomy from the technoenvironment in which it operates. It identifies technology with power and separates the sacredness of the human thought from the automated systems invented by humans. Whilst the longing for common state of immunity from the technoscientific artificialisation of thought constitutes, one could argue, the bedrock of critical theory, this class aims to unpack how the development of computational logic becomes productive for the articulation of a formalism of and for sexual, gender, queer politics.
This lecture addresses how the development of artificial intelligence has led to the development of a computational logic and how this has forced the classical understanding of reasoning to become open to non-monotonic thinking. This classical view of logic will be here explored through American pragmatism. We will discuss how non-deductive logic and the theorization of logic in terms of use-meaning can contribute to develop an artificial logic of sex through and with machines.


Queer Art and Curating: Strategies, Stories, Structures (18-19 Aug)

In these two lectures we will discuss queer strategies, stories and structures in contemporary artistic and curatorial practices. How different queer lenses change the straight perspective and challenge dominant visual regimes? Looking at the recent queer exhibitions and art works we will analyze their role in questioning cultural, social and political representation. The issues of queering the canon, fighting censorship, crossing boundaries of public and private, deconstructing “grand national narratives” and hierarchical structures of the art world will also be addressed.
Queer art combines activist approaches and camp aesthetics, mis(s)appropriations and celebration of diverse sexualities. Its artistic strategies encourage subversion of norms, uncovering hidden experiences, transgression boundaries and institutional critique. Many queer exhibitions are research-based visual narratives, linking archival material and personal testimonies. Therefore story-telling will be another important issue to discuss. How is memory (re)constructed by the means of collecting untold stories and re-enacting of the past events?
Queer narratives demand queer structures – a specific type of exhibition architecture. It aims at creating unusual spatial experience, mixing art and vernacular objects and “bending” the optical perception. How does it work? Is queering of international art mega-structures like the Venice Biennale possible? These and many more questions will open the space for debates.


Post-Internet Gender and Sexuality: Contemporary Performative and Guerilla Art Practices Online (20 Aug)

Early radical statements that Internet will provide freedom of expression, tools of mobilization for the revolutionary masses and a territory free of gender discrimination (because everyone performs through an avatar) proved to be naïve. The once new technological and networking “tools of liberation” have been long ago instrumentalised for the purposes of the status-quo. The artistic and the activist avant garde is again struggling to find new ways to challenge established positions and discriminative practices. Additionally, the Internet anonymity, sometimes associated with the opportunity to freely share politically or socially inconvenient opinions, also gives way to reactionary behavior often hidden behind the mask of the political correctness in the real world, where more often phobic positions are unacceptable.
In this lecture I will review artistic and activist practices that utilize new tools and invent actions to challenge the brutality and the cynicism of the post-Internet-scape. Works by Angela Washko, Moleindustria, Jennifer Chan and others will be reviewed along with vloggers like Eldar Bogunov, Krolik Black and my personal work in collaboration with artist and filmmaker Oleg Mavromatti.
Student presentations are supposed to identify similar practices that might be their own as well. It will be appreciated if these examples are culturally specific. The presenter is supposed to introduce the audience to the context as well and be able to handle comparative analysis, situating these culturally specific practices in trans-cultural context.


  • Applicants should be post/graduate students (MA or PhD students) and/or younger researchers interested in exploring the issues of gender, queer, cultural studies, visual arts and humanities and related areas. However, outstanding BA students are also considered and have the chance to enroll. .
  • We especially welcome applications from: independent scholars, cultural workers, artists, and activists interested in queer and gender studies.
  • Applicants from all countries are eligible to apply.


  • All applicants should fill in the Application Form (available online at
  • Paper abstract is optional. If you wish to deliver a presentation, post your abstract in the Application form (appr. 500 words max.) for a presentation not exceeding 15 mins, or ignore if not applicable.
  • Maximum number of participants: 40
  • Maximum number of students delivering presentation: 20 (maximum 4 presentations per afternoon session).

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