7th European Geographies of Sexualities Conference (EGSC 2024)

Brighton, UK (Monday September 2nd to Tuesday September 3rd, 2024)

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

No English? No problem!

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Call for Sessions (CfS) and Presentations (CfP)

Conference Theme: Uncomfortable Spaces

At this conference, we’re interested in comfort – and discomfort. We want to take seriously the emotional and affective qualities of comfort and discomfort. We aim to explore their shifting meanings and practices, their spatial contexts and politics, and their use for and relationship to geographies of sexualities.

Comfort and discomfort have their own changing social, spatial and historical contexts (McNally et al, 2020). In some contexts comfort may look entirely apolitical, or even as an expression of privilege (Fox & Ore, 2010). In other contexts, it can be an important way in which safety and inclusion (or exclusion) is produced for multiply-marginalised people (Boulila, 2015; Held, 2015). Creating and working with discomfort can also be productive (Ahmed, 2012). Following these scholars, we think it’s important that comfort is accessible to marginalised people and communities. But it’s also important to critically interrogate our experiences of uncomfortable spaces. For those without particular privileges, an uncomfortable space could simply mirror or even exacerbate the inequality and marginalisation of everyday life. For those with those privileges, encountering an uncomfortable space could spark productive reflections (Fox & Ore, 2010).

We can see some of the politics and spatialities of comfort at conferences such as the EGSC. Regular EGSC attendees have pointed out that the conference – despite the best efforts of participants and organisers – can often mirror the hegemonic Anglo-centrism (Garcia Ramon et al, 2006; Silva & Ornat, 2016) of global academia. This is about language, but it’s also about lacking awareness of and respect for non-Anglosphere scholarship (Müller, 2021) – as Ahmed (2017:15-16) points out, citation is a political practice. Consequently the various spaces and times of the conference may be uncomfortable for many non-native English speakers, who may experience the awkwardness of not speaking ‘perfect’ English in their presentation; the embarrassment of not being able to express thoughts in a ‘sophisticated’ way; the loneliness of not getting the joke told over lunch; or the anger of having one’s academic institution treated with suspicion when applying for a visa. Native English-speakers, on the other hand, can expect everyone at the conference to speak their language, and to recognise and respect their scholarly literatures and institutions. And, as Rodó Zárate (forthcoming) reminds us, the hegemonic nature of Anglo-centric academia means that most attendees do speak English, and are familiar with English-language scholarship. Consequently native English-speakers (particularly when monolingual) may get to experience international academic spaces as comfortable, at the expense of other attendees. Following its theme, EGSC 2024 will be a space in which sessions in languages other than English are encouraged. And (particularly because the conference budget does not extend to professional live translation) it will be a space in which the discomfort that comes with conversing across politico-linguistic differences is critically engaged with.

We invite scholars from across the world to join us in an uncomfortable space, to have uncomfortable conversations. Perhaps we can create more comfortable spaces for those marginalised due to sexualities, and become more comfortable with one another.

Submitting proposals for Organised Sessions

From Monday November 6th to Friday February 16th, we’re accepting proposals for organised sessions. You can do this in two ways:

  1. You can submit a complete proposal with the full list of planned presentations, already recruited by you.
  2. Or, you can ask for your proposal and contact details to be posted on the conference website, so that others can apply to be a part of it. You should then submit a new complete proposal when you have the full list of planned presentations.

Your proposal should be submitted via the Organised Session Submission Form (https://forms.gle/3TiESjcS85BMyR1F6), and it should include:

  • The name, affiliation (if any), and contact details of the organisers.
  • A title and abstract (~300 words) for the session.
  • The format of the session (e.g. a series of presented papers, a panel discussion, creative workshops, etc).
  • The amount of time requested (ideally in blocks of 30 mins; see guidelines below).The languages you expect to be used in the session.Any audiovisual requirements or other resources needed.
  • Any additional information you feel the conference organisers should be aware of.
  • Full details for any planned presentations which will be part of the session. See individual sessions, below, for which details to include.

Submitting proposals for Individual Presentations

From Monday December 4th to Friday March 29th, we’ll accept proposals for individual presentations. You can do this in two ways:

  1. Submit a proposal to the organisers of a specific organised session. Their calls and contact details will be made available on the conference website;
  2. Submit a proposal to the General Call for presentations, which the Local Organising Committee will organise into a session. To do this, submit your proposal via the General Call Submission Form (https://forms.gle/HbTYbhnHK9zMTATg8). It should include:
  • Your name, affiliation (if any), and contact details.
  • A title and abstract (~250 words) for your presentation.
  • The format of the presentation (e.g. an academic paper, a creative workshop, a short film, etc).
  • The amount of time requested (see guidelines below).
  • The languages you expect to use in the session.
  • Any audiovisual requirements or other resources needed.
  • Any additional information you feel the conference organisers should be aware of.

Guidelines for all Presentations

At EGSC 24 we want to maximise communication across languages, particularly in languages other than English. Therefore we have included the following guidelines for all organised sessions and individual presentations:

Languages: You may present in any language you wish, but you should aim to communicate your key points to non-native speakers and even with non-speakers.

Length: For standard presentations, we usually allow 15 mins maximum for presentations, with an additional 5 mins for questions.

  • If you’re presenting only in your native language, you will be allowed 15 mins to speak but you must time your presentation to 10 mins maximum. This is to ensure that you will speak slowly and clearly, without overrunning.
  • If you want to present in two languages at once (e.g. speak for 2-3 mins in one language, then explain for 2-3 mins in another language, and so on), we allow 25 mins for your presentation.
  • For other formats (e.g. panel discussions, film screenings, etc), we recommend that you allocate time in blocks of 30 mins, and that you leave plenty of time to facilitate communication.

Visual aids: Your presentation must have visual aids, designed to support those who are not native speakers of your chosen language. These visual aids may include:

  • supporting images/figures
  • short and simply-written explanatory sentences and/or key words

Summaries: To help your audience follow your presentation, you’ll be asked to provide a simple summary listing your presentation’s key points at least a week before the conference. These will be made available on the conference website.

Topicality: Proposals do not need to be related to the conference theme, and presenters do not need to be Geographers! EGSC 2024 is enthusiastically interdisciplinary, and we very warmly welcome those from all disciplines and none. However all proposals should have a connection to both sexualities and to geographic issues and concepts (e.g. spaces, places, scales, environments, nature, mobilities, mapping, and more).

We would particularly welcome proposals relating to the following:

  • Making comfortable spaces for sexual minorities, particularly those marginalised through race, class, and gender.
  • Intersectional, postcolonial and queer approaches to comfort.
  • Personal, reflective accounts of uncomfortable academic spaces.
  • Emotional, affective and/or atmospheric geographies of sexualities.
  • Cross-cultural and cross-linguistic translations of ‘comfort’ and related discourses.
  • The spatial and scalar politics of comfort, as well as wider emotions and affects.
  • Strategies of dealing with and managing discomfort in particular spaces.
  • Methods for studying and understanding emotions and affects.
  • Engaging with comfort and discomfort in art and activism.
  • Mapping experiences of comfort and discomfort.
  • The role of the more-than-human in producing comfort.
  • Embodied experiences of/with dis/comfort.

If you have any questions about the conference, feel free to email the Local Organising Committee in Brighton: egsc24@brighton.ac.uk

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