September 11. – 16. 2016, Hannover, Germany

This summer school aims to bring together scholars and activists from Central and Eastern Europe with peers from the United States and scholars of North American Studies. It reflects on the current cultural, legal, and political conditions of representation, articulation, and critique in Central and Eastern European societies, focusing on the very varied responses to sexual diversity, including the academic establishment of gender and queer studies. In some countries the efforts inside and outside academia to live, express, and explore non-normative sexualities have brought about robust and visible structures of organization, which reach into the academic sphere, while in other countries LGBTI activists are threatened and forced underground, so that the cultural and academic organization of the field runs up against heavy obstacles. In all of these cases, the current debates around sexual rights and the strategies of political activists gesture to earlier struggles and movements, and to a history of queer protest, consciously and unconsciously responding to longstanding patterns of political assertion and cultural self-fashioning. The U.S. minority movements form one particularly intriguing point of reference for the current developments in Europe, and the summer school is interested in exploring the intersections between historical and present, Western and Eastern formations and figurations, and to review them comparatively in their unfolding across social spheres and national boundaries.

Political strategies, cultural theories, and modes of meaning-making and organization cannot be simply transposed from one context to another. Still, theorists, academics, and activists cooperate and communicate, they observe and appropriate, borrowing political strategies, and research methodologies across borders and drawing on a joint repertory of queer rhetoric and ritual. It is the interest of the summer school to investigate how such processes of transfer and translation operate, and how they can be put to use in a constructive fashion.

The planned summer school aims to facilitate processes of exchange and inspiration, and to provide an arena to not only discuss research proposals and papers but also explore other modes and formats of social and cultural work. It plans to provide a space for people from different regional and professional backgrounds to come to terms with joint goals, expectations, and trajectories of action, and to discuss the significance and impact of local specificities and needs, and their dynamics. To emphasize its situatedness at the intersection of the academic and the public, the summer school will take place in a public site – at the socio-cultural center Pavillon in Hannover, which is located in the middle of the city, and attracts an audience with a broad spectrum of cultural interests. We encourage participants with extra-academic backgrounds to submit proposals.

Major areas of interest:

  • Queer organization: local needs and translocal structures
  • Queer mediation: images, sounds, campaigns of queerness and their global distribution and local impact
  • Queer rituals: gay pride parades, coming out rituals, etc. in their transnational unfolding
  • Queer talk: terms, concepts, identity politics in East and West
  • Queer theory: traveling concepts and concepts stuck in place

Please send a cv and an abstract of your planned presentation (max. 500 words) to by June 15, 2016. Abstracts can relate to relevant academic work (papers, research or phd projects, etc.), but may also sketch projects outside the academic field which fall within the summer school’s scope

Notification of acceptance will be sent by July 01, 2016
There is no participation fee. Costs for housing and lunch is covered by the VW-Foundation.

Summer School venue:
Kulturzentrum Pavillon Hannover Lister Meile 4
30161 Hannover

Prof. Dr. Ruth Mayer
Chair of American Studies Leibniz University of Hanover English Department
Königsworther Platz 1 30167 Hannover

Anna-Lena Oldehus, M.A. Junior Researcher
Leibniz University of Hanover English Department
Königsworther Platz 1 30167 Hannover