iLGBT Fall Symposium - Queer Migrations: Homeland Insecurities, Violence, and Belonging

Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 9:30am to Friday, October 31, 2014 - 5:00pm
A National Symposium at the University of Arizona
October 30 and 31, 2014
Queer migration scholarship critically explores how sexual and gender normativities shape, regulate, and contest contemporary international migration processes that stem from histories of colonialism, global capitalism, genocide, slavery, and racialized patriarchy. In recent years, scholarly works and organizing efforts, particularly by young queer migrants and those advocating on behalf of transnational families and intimacies, have generated a national conversation about the connections between queer genders, sexualities, and migrations. The conference brings together activists, scholars, students, archivists, artists, and other interested groups in order to:
  • Center queer migrant lives, experiences, cultures, struggles, and transformations;
  • Connect queer migration experiences with contemporary struggles against (neo)colonialism, global capitalism, slavery, racism and (hetero)sexism, war, the prison industrial complex, and bio- and necro-politics;
  • Make these connections at different scales (including local, regional, national, and transnational), and across different time periods;
  • Problematize the idea that state border controls create safety, security and order, and instead explore how they legitimize the abandonment of racialized, queered, poor populations to precarious conditions and premature death; 
  • Ensure that nation-state migration and citizenship policies are addressed both on their own terms and in relation to wider scales, histories, and processes; 
  • Consider arguments and strategies that don’t involve winning privileges at someone else’s expense, and that seek to build bridges between struggles;
  • Assess the current state of queer migration scholarship and activism, and imagine/envision future directions.

All events take in the Student Union on the UA Mall unless otherwise noted

October 30
Welcome by Eithne Luibhéid (Professor, University of Arizona) and Karma R. Chávez (Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin)
Kiva Room
The Queer Geopolitics of Birthright Citizenship
Presentation by and discussion with Siobhan Somerville, Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign                                      
Kiva Room
Building Community Through Queer-y-ing Our Histories: Launch of the Queer Migration Archive and discussion of queer archiving methods, challenges and possibilities
with Karma R. Chávez (Associate Professor, U. of Wisconsin) and Jamie Lee (PhD Candidate, U. of Arizona)                                
Kiva Room
Invented Traditions: Borders, Values, and Valorization
Presentation by and discussion with Jin Haritaworn, Assistant Professor, York University, Canada                                                               
Kiva Room
Arizona Activisms: Borders, Sovereignty, and Queer Immigration Politics
Vikter Medina (3rd Space and Association of Jotería Arts Activism & Scholarship), Raúl Alcaraz Ochoa (The Rainbow Defense Fund), Alex Soto (The Tohono O’odham Nation and Shining Soul), and Kathryn Rodriguez (The Colibrí Center for Human Rights)                                                           
 Ventana Room
October 31
None on Record: A Conversation About Documenting Queer African Lives
Skype presentation and discussion with Selly Thiam (founding director, None on Record: Stories of Queer Africa)                                    
Kiva Room
My Undocumented and Queer Story Through Art
Presentation by and discussion with Julio Salgado (artist and activist. Major projects include I Am UndocuQueer; Undocumented Apparel; Dreamers Adrift; and I Exist).                      
Kiva Room
Looking Forward, Looking Back
A discussion facilitated by Susana Peña (Associate Professor, Bowling Green State University) about issues raised by the symposium, and the future of queer migration research and activisms                                      
Kiva Room
All events free and open to the public.  Further information is available at and
Warmest thanks to our sponsors: James J. Leos, the Institute for LGBT Studies, the University of Wisconsin College of Letters and Science, the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.

Jin Haritaworn
Invented traditions: Borders, values and valorization
This talk locates the invention of queer-friendly values in the newly post-homophobic and transphobic countries of the self-identified West alongside the shifting processes of valorization that occur at the border as a paradoxical site of contraction and expansion. I examine this with regard to Germany, where the belated reform of the ius sanguinis coincides with the crisis in multiculturalism, the contraction of the welfare state, the expansion of regimes of incarceration, moral panics over crime, violence and integration, and the eased deportability of risky bodies on the one hand – and with the ascendancy of the properly invested queer subjects as symbolic border guards on the other.

Dr. Jin Haritaworn has worked on queer/trans politics, racism and migration for the last decade or so, first as an activist and more recently as an academic. Jin is currently assistant professor on the faculty of environmental studies at York University in Canada. Besides turning a PhD on Thai multiraciality and queer diaspora into a book, The Biopolitics of Mixing: Thai Multiracialities and Haunted Ascendencies (Ashgate, 2012), Jin is also working on a monograph (contracted in the Decolonial Studies, Postcolonial Horizons Pluto series) about the racial and religious turn in gender and sexual politics. Of particular interest are the transnational travels of racist, neo-colonial and neoliberal paradigms through Europe and across the Atlantic, and the queer necropolitics of urban space and LGBT hate crime activism in Western Europe. Jin currently examines this with regard to the gentrification of the inner cities and the criminalization and pathologization of the people once confined to, and now displaced from, them. Jin has published in numerous venues, and has recently released an edited volume with Adi Kuntsman and Silvia Posocco called Queer Necropolitics (Routledge, 2014).

Jamie A. Lee and Karma R. Chávez
Building Community through Queer-y-ing our Histories
This conversation between Lee and Chávez will discuss Lee’s work building the Arizona Queer Archives, as well as Lee’s innovative methodological and theoretical approach to archiving. Chávez will also ask questions relevant to her development of the Queer Migration Archive.

Jamie A. Lee is a Doctoral Candidate in Information Resources and Library Science with a Gender & Women's Studies minor at the University or Arizona. Her proposed dissertation project, A Queer/ed Archival Methodology: Theorizing Practice through Radical Interrogations of the Archival Body, emerges from her work with the Institute for LGBT Studies to develop the Arizona Queer Archives (AQA), the statewide LGBTQ archive. The AQA's cornerstone collection and programmatic focus is the Arizona LGBTQ Storytelling Project, which Jamie founded in 2008 as Arizona's first LGBTQ archive and queer oral history collection. Following archival literatures that have traced archival theory and practice from the modern to postmodern, Jamie's dissertation project will argue for and instantiate an archival shift into the posthuman, the call to radically re-define human and non-human as bodies, stories, and practices that are simultaneously becoming and unbecoming within multiply-situated locations, identities, technologies, representations, and timescapes. In order to develop a Queer/ed Archival Methodology, she approaches the archives as embodied and, therefore, will use the body as a framework to imagine and understand the archive as a body of knowledge and, importantly, a body of multiple knowledges that does not and cannot fit into normative and stable categories as dictated by dominant discourse and ideology. She is alum of the Knowledge River Program. She has worked in film/TV since 1991, has produced, and directed award-winning social justice films that have screened worldwide. She values the power of storytelling--the everyday experts and everyday stories that constitute archives.

Karma R. Chávez is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Arts and affiliate in the Program in Chican@ and Latin@ Studies and the Department of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is co-editor of Standing in the Intersection: Feminist Voices, Feminist Practices (with Cindy L. Griffin, SUNY Press, 2012), and author of Queer Migration Politics: Activist Rhetoric and Coalitional Possibilities (University of Illinois Press, 2013). Karma is also co-founder of the Queer Migration Research Network (, a member of the radical queer collective Against Equality, and Wednesday’s host of the radio program, "A Public Affair" on Madison's community radio station, 89.9 FM WORT.

Susana Peña
Looking Forward, Looking Back
Susana will lead a session in which we collectively review the issues that have been raised throughout the symposium, and discuss the future of queer migration research and activisms.

Susana Peña is Director of School of Cultural and Critical Studies and Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at Bowling Green State University. Her research focuses on sexuality and gender among U.S. Latino/a populations.  Her book Oye Loca: From the Mariel Boatlift to Gay Cuban Miami (University of Minnesota Press, 2013) was chosen as a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in the LGBT Studies category.  Her work has also been published in Gender & History, Journal of the History of Sexuality, and the Cuban journal Temas. She received a post-doctoral fellowship from the Social Science Research Council’s Sexuality Research Fellowship Program.  

Julio Salgado
My Undocumented & Queer Story Through Art
In the past few years, there has been some research about the intersectionality of being queer and immigrant. A lot of the times, these stories are documented by academics with little involvement in the migrant rights movement but with resources to tell stories. Salgado will be sharing his own story through the medium he knows best: his illustrations.

Julio Salgado is the co-founder of His activist artwork has become a staple of the DREAM Act movement. His status as an undocumented, queer artivist has fueled the contents of his illustrations, which depict key individuals and moments of the DREAM Act movement. Undocumented students and allies across the country have used Salgado’s artwork to call attention to the youth-led movement.

His work has been praised by OC Weekly's Gustavo Arellano, KPCC-FM 89.3's Multi-American blog and the influential journal ColorLines. In July 2012, Salgado and other undocumented activists joined Jose A. Vargas on the cover of Time Magazine. Salgado graduated from California State Universitiy, Long Beach with a degree in journalism. To see more of his artwork and other collaborations, you can go to

Siobhan B. Somerville
The Queer Geopolitics of Birthright Citizenship
Despite our sense of increasing rates of migration worldwide, the vast majority of the world’s population has acquired their citizenship by birth. Contextualizing U.S. citizenship laws transnationally, this talk asks what queer methods might offer to an analysis of the global history of laws on birthright citizenship. What might these laws have to do with histories of race and sexuality? How, in turn, might a focus on birthright citizenship transform or sharpen queer critiques of shifting norms of family and marriage (including same-sex marriage)? I pursue these questions with special attention to histories of colonialism and neoliberalism as they bear upon current configurations of birthright citizenship globally.

Siobhan Somerville is Associate Professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is also affiliated with the Department of African American Studies and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. She is the author of Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture (Duke UP, 2000) and recently co-edited a special issue of GLQ on “Queering the Middle: Race, Region, and a Queer Midwest.” Her current projects include two book manuscripts: “A Queer Genealogy of Naturalization in the U.S.“ and “Sexuality and the Civil Rights Imaginary.”

Selly Thiam
None on Record: A Conversation about Documenting Queer African Lives
Selly Thiam is a journalist and oral historian whose work has appeared on NPR, PBS and in the New York Times.  She was a producer for the Storycorps Oral History Project, PBS Learning Matters and a Carnegie Fellow at the ABC News Investigative Unit. She is the founder and Executive Director of None on Record, a digital media organization documenting the stories of Africans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

Conference organizers: Eithne Luibhéid, University of Arizona, and Karma R. Chávez, University of Madison Wisconsin

Sponsors include: UA Institute for LGBT Studies, James J. Leos, others TBA.
Further details coming in spring 2014!