[csaa-forum] CHED Public Seminar with Assoc Prof Nikki Sullivan at the University of QLD, Oct 7

Elizabeth Stephens e.stephens at uq.edu.au
Tue Sep 28 13:41:59 CST 2010

The Centre for the History of European Discourses at the University of
Queensland will hold the next in its public seminar series, "Issues in
the History of Sexuality," on October 7, from 4-6 pm, in the CCCS
seminar room on level 4 of the Forgan Smith Tower.


Nikki Sullivan (Macquarie University): "Birds do it, bees do it, even
educated fleas do it": Queer(ing) animal sex and the matter of the



In a recent article on what she refers to as "trans animals" Myra Hird
suggests that "nonhuman animals have, for some time now, been
overburdened with the task of making sense of human social relations",
and that nowhere is this clearer than in accounts of "animal sex".
Whilst I don't entirely disagree with this claim, what bothers me is the
presupposition that something called "animal sex" simply exists, and
that this is then appropriated by humans in a sort of second-order move.
What this claim fails to recognise is that "animal sex" (whatever that
might mean) is materialised as such-it comes to matter-in and through
perceptual practices that are themselves shaped by the contexts in which
they occur. Given this, a critical interrogation of the shifting
understandings of "animal sex" that have gained currency over the last
century or so could be said to tell us less about animals per se, than
about competing ways of seeing sex(uality), gender, and the matter of
the non/human. This paper, then, develops an analysis of what I will
refer to as the somatechnics of perception as it operates in twentieth
and twenty-first century accounts of "animal sex". Whilst it engages
briefly with a range of historically specific accounts of and/or
approaches to "animal sex", the paper will focus primarily on
contemporary works which situate themselves as part of what has come to
be known as the new materialism. In these works, queering animal sex
consists less of demonstrating the existence of, for example,
"homosexual" animals and animal behaviours than in seeing from a
non-human animal perspective, from, from example, "a bacterial
perspective" (Hird). What, I ask, can this mean? What does seeing from
the perspective of an/other entail? And what are the constitutive
effects of presuming that it is possible - or even desirable - to do so?


About the Presenter

Nikki Sullivan is associate professor of Critical and Cultural Studies
at Macquarie University, where she is also the Director of the
Somatechnics Centre.  She is the author of A Critical Introduction to
Queer Theory and Tattooed Bodies: Subjectivity, Textuality, Ethics,
Pleasure as well as co-editor (with Samantha Murray) of Somatechnics:
Queering the Technologisation of Bodies. 


For further information, contact Elizabeth Stephens:
e.stephens at uq.edu.au



Elizabeth Stephens
ARC Research Fellow

Deputy Director
Centre for the History of European Discourses
University of Queensland Australia 4072
Phone: 61 7 3346 9493
Fax: 61 7 3346 9495

Webpage: http://uq.academia.edu/ElizabethStephens


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.cdu.edu.au/pipermail/csaa-forum/attachments/20100928/343156e8/attachment.html 

More information about the csaa-forum mailing list