A series of three reading groups over PICA’s symposium weekend, illuminating key ideas from the speakers and artists. Join us for a beer and a small discussion group each evening, and continue the conversations of the day.

Starting Points
Thu, June 21, 6:30–7:30pm, The Green Dragon Bistro and Pub, 928 SE 9th Ave.
Moderated by Sean Patrick Joseph Carney

The first group will focus on the broad themes of the symposium—bodies, identities, and alternative economies—through the lens of activism and social organizing theory.

  • Who is Oakland: Anti-Oppression Activism, the Politics of Safety, and State Co-optation from Escalating IdentityAn essay authored collaboratively and anonymously by a group of Occupy Oakland members who identify themselves only as “people of color, women, and queers.” This work speaks to all three major themes in the symposium–bodies, identities, and alternative economies–in the context of social and economic structures, anti-capitalism, activism, resistance, oppression, and the power of the state. Long but very readable. Note that these ideas are provocative and controversial! You will likely find yourself both agreeing and disagreeing at various points. We look forward to a lively discussion!

Queer as Artistic and Political Practice
Fri, June 22, 5:30–6:30pm, Ace Hotel Lobby, 1022 SW Stark St
Moderated by Jodie Cavalier

The second reading group will focus on the potential for “queerness” and “failure” to be artistically and politically generative, producing new possibilities that both resist and reimagine societal norms.

  • Armed Guard Garden | In Mouth, Cassie Peterson, Culturebot.net, February 17, 2012. (PDF)An essay/review by Cassie Peterson of two performances, Armed Guard Garden and In Mouth at New York Live Arts. Peterson provides a descriptive account of the works alongside a conversation between Vanessa Anspaugh (creator of Armed Guard Garden), Jen Rosenblit (creator of In Mouth) discussing the concepts, relationships, and politics behind their works.
  • Bullybloggers on Failure and the Future of Queer Theory (PDF)
    A collection of texts from the panel discussion “Failure and the Future of Queer Studies” at NYU on negativity, failure, anti-disciplinary, and bullying in queer studies. The panel included: Gayatri Gopinath, Lisa Duggan, Ann Pellegrini, and Jose Muñoz. Bullybloggers has added additional commentary by Tavia Nyong’o.
  • Judith Halberstam reads from The Queer Art of Failure.
    Judith “Jack” Halberstam discusses his book The Queer Art of Failure, which addresses alternatives to heteronormative notions of success, failure as a strategy to challenge conventional understandings of success and failure, capitalist societies, and queerness in animated children’s films.

Optional reading:

  • A Queer Revolution: Reconceptualizing the Debate Over Linguistic Reclamation/em> (PDF)
    Robin Brontsema’s research in linguistic reclamation provides a thorough presentation of the term queer.
  • The Antisocial Thesis in Queer Theory (PDF)
    A summary of presentations given at the 2005 MLA Convention by Robert L. Caserio, Lee Edelman, Judith Halberstam, Jose Munoz, and Tim Dean.

Alternative Economies & Their Movements
Sat, June 23, 4:30–5:30pm, Dig-a-Pony, 736 SE Grand Ave.
Moderated by David Knowles

The final reading group explores the economic crisis and alternative political economies, as well as their manifestation in the current Occupy movement.