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The YouTube livestream of this panel is available above, broadcast on Wednesday the 28th of April 2021.

Queer Methods

In this panel, we reflect on the ways in which we can rethink and recalibrate our research methods and methodologies in order to better understand the complexity of queer lives and politics. Celebrating the wide spectrum of (queer) methods – geographically, academically, and politically – and attending to the discomfort they may bring about, we discuss how to bring to the fore what has been rendered invisible or irrelevant by conventional research methods and methodologies. By centring our critiques on methods and methodologies, we explore the creative and transformative possibilities of research into queer lives and politics.


Chair

Dr Hakan Sandal-Wilson

Centre for Gender Studies (University of Cambridge)

Speakers

Naoise Murphy

PhD Candidate, Centre for Gender Studies (University of Cambridge)

Supernatural methods: Dorothy Macardle's queer epistemologies

Functioning as a vital counterpoint to her work as a propagandist historian, Dorothy Macardle's gothic novels propose the supernatural as a queer method of knowledge production. The Unforeseen, a narrative of 'second sight' published in 1945, illustrates Macardle's interest in the supernatural as a method to disrupt the trajectory of Irish republican politics. In a newly-formed State that valorised heterosexual marriage, her queer feminist politics foreground the ever-present horror of misogynist violence and the epistemological instabilities it produces. Her method of 'skidding about in time' calls official histories and conventional modes of knowledge production into question.

Beatriz Santos Barreto

PhD Candidate, Centre of Latin American Studies (University of Cambridge)

LGBTQ movements in Argentina and Brazil: a queer framework

In this presentation, I will discuss the use of intersectional and queer frameworks in studying the construction, management, and mobilization of collective identities in LGBTQ movements in Argentina and Brazil. Social movements theorists broadly agree that a collective identity is fundamental to the processes of framing groups' interests and demands and mobilizing social action. Despite that, the study of social movements has often downplayed the influence of identities on demands and strategies. The construction and maintenance of a collective identity cannot be taken as a natural development. As individuals' identities encompass different subjective positions occupied simultaneously throughout life, the work done to craft a collective identity is embedded in power relations and usually results in the suppression of complex identities and the erasure of some individuals' particular traits and claims. In my PhD research, I question which subsets of the LGBTQ community in both countries have the material and cultural resources to partake in strategies implemented, to access results obtained and resist antagonistic backlashes. Further, I argue that the historical-cultural specificity of intersectional identities observed in intra-movement power relations challenges monolithic conceptualisations of the LGBTQ community and its movements. Therefore, social movement theory must develop conceptual tools that account for intra-movement dynamics and their continual interaction with internal and external phenomena that influence collective action.

Eliz MY Wong

PhD Candidate in Social Policy (London School of Economics and Political Science)

Doing Queer Research in Queer Times: methodological reflections during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has unprecedentedly changed people's lives all over the world, as well as the way social science research is conducted. Social inequality during the pandemic has gained increased attention, but little empirical research has been conducted on the experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people during the pandemic, with lockdown measures and social distancing practices restricting researchers' ability to carry out these investigations. Many researchers have moved their data collection online with the help of digital communication technology, such as Zoom and Facebook. As such, it is important for us to consider the methodological challenges in this new 'socially distant' method, especially because it transgresses the traditional perceptions of public/private spheres, the workplace/home distinction and online/office interaction. Especially for queer-inspired scholars, how does the transgression of the public/private divide and the formation of a new in-between space on zoom bring challenges and opportunities for queer participants and researchers?  This paper explores these methodological and epistemological questions through my reflections on conducting both quantitative (online survey with over 1000 LGBTQ+ respondents) and qualitative data collection (in-depth interviews with LGBTQ+ participants on zoom) in Hong Kong during the pandemic.


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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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