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Queer Kinship: Erotic Affinities and the Politics of Belonging, edited collection

Deadline for submissions: 
January 1, 2019
Contact email:

Elizabeth Freeman (UC Davis)
Tyler Bradway (SUNY Cortland)
Duke University Press (tbc)

“Queer Kinship: Erotic Affinities and the Politics of Belonging” is a proposed volume at Duke University Press (which has expressed a strong interest in seeing the proposal) that charts the conceptions, practices, and politics of contemporary queer kinship. Neoliberalism has unraveled the already loose bonds of the heteronormative nuclear family. While the eclipse of the family and its economic basis once made the emergence of lesbian and gay identity possible, as John D’Emilio famously argues, its decline has been met with an ironic reinvestment in marriage by the mainstream gay and lesbian movement. As scholars such as Lisa Duggan and Sarah Schulman contend, the rise of homonormativity forsakes more radical formations of erotic and social belonging. At the same time, the Trump Administration has only intensified the state’s policing of the family, weaponizing kinship to further a politics of white nationalism through surveillance, detention, and deportation. As Jasbir Puar and David L. Eng contend, homonationalism and queer liberalism thus emerge as a central part of the state’s deployment of a racialized politics of sexuality.

What futures exist for queer kinship, then, within and beyond the state? What new methods are needed to grasp the intersectional and material complexities of queer belonging as it moves across domains and disciplines? How do queer cultures forge kinship bonds through cultural objects, bodily performances, and circulatory practices, and what concepts are needed to theorize their modes of belonging?

In asking these questions, this volume builds on important intersections of queer theory and kinship theory, evident in work by scholars such as Judith Butler, David L. Eng, Juana María Rodríguez, Mark Rifkin, Martin F. Manalasan, Jack Halberstam, Kadji Amin, and others. Our volume builds on and extends this interdisciplinary conversation by inviting contributions from a wide range of disciplinary approaches, cultural archives, theoretical frameworks, and historical and global contexts.

Proposals might consider: 

  • Underpinnings of kinship theory (Lévi-Strauss, Mauss, Malinowski, Schneider, Engels etc.)
  • LGBTQ theories of kinship (Weston, Hayden, Riley, D’Emilio, Rubin, Foucault, etc.) 
  • Reappraisals of Foucault’s “deployment of alliance” 
  • Theories of embodied kinship—kinetic, practical, analogic, figural, affective, and performative
  • Queer of color and critical race theories of kinship
  • Queer diasporas, global kinship
  • Horizontal and lateral kinship, kinship across space, time, and history
  • Queer lineage, descent, ancestry, heritage 
  • Monogamy, polygamy, polyamory, endo/exogamy, incest
  • Queer maternities and paternities, queer family structures
  • Trans kinships, non-binary modes of belonging
  • Erotic apprenticeship, daddying, queer pedagogies
  • Kinship in and through digital spaces and networks

Please send one-page abstracts with CV and contact information to Elizabeth Freeman ( and Tyler Bradway ( by January 1, 2019.

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lgbtQ+@cam is an initiative launched in 2018 to promote interdisciplinary research, outreach and network building related to queer, trans and sexuality studies at the University of Cambridge.

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