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Visual Cultures Lecture Series: Jack Halberstam – Wilderness

12 December 2017 | 6.30pm – 8pm

Battersea, Gorvy Lecture Theatre

Free, booking not required. 

For this Disorder Research Group Visual Cultures Event, Jack will be speaking about wildness - in the form of “bewilderment” and colonialism. Members from the Disorder Research Group will prepare questions and lead the discussion with Jack. 

Bewilderment: Queer Theory After Nature by Jack Halberstam, Columbia University

Abstract: Wildness is easily recognized as part of a colonial epistemology within which colonizers cast non-metropolitan spaces as savage, wild and in need of cultivation. Obviously, then, “the wild” is a loaded term that still reeks of its colonial function – while in the nineteenth century “the wild” still took something like “nature” as its referent, by the late 19th and early 20th century, the wild had become part of a colonial division of the world into the modern and the primitive. We cannot simply shake free of that division but we can think about what wildness might signify in a post-colonial world and within an anti-colonial project. I will trace new forms of disordered wildness as part of a decolonizing project and use the work of First Nations artist Kent Monkman as an example of decolonizing bewilderment.


Jack Haberstam is the Visiting Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University. Halberstam is the author of five books including: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011) and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and has written articles that have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and collections. Halberstam has co-edited a number of anthologies including Posthuman Bodies with Ira Livingston (Indiana University Press, 1995) and a special issue of Social Text with Jose Munoz and David Eng titled What’s Queer About Queer Studies Now? 

Jack is a popular speaker and gives lectures internationally. Lecture topics include: queer failure, sex and media, subcultures, visual culture, gender variance, popular film, animation. Halberstam is currently working on several projects including a book titled WILD THING on queer anarchy, performance and protest culture, the visual representation of anarchy and the intersections between animality, the human and the environment. Halberstam is also finishing up a short book titled Trans* for UC Press, forthcoming in 2017.