Human Rights / Education

Queer Theory course couldn’t kick off!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Kaos GL’s statement on the ‘Queer Theory’ course that cannot be opened this term:This is not a farewell, but the declaration that we will continue to act with our academicians and students with whom we have walked, act and think together by this time.

Kaos GL Association made a written statement about the Queer Theory course which have been conducted together with Ankara University Women’s Studies Department since 2013.

The Association which declared that the course cannot continue after the dismissal of the academicians with the latest Statutory Decree said, “This is not a farewell, but the declaration that we will continue to act with our academicians and students with whom we have walked, act and think together by this time”.

Queer Theory was conducted by dismissed academician Betül Yarar, Alev Özkazanç forced to be retired together with Aylime Aslı Demir from Kaos GL. In this spring term, the course would be conducted with Funda Şenol Cantek, if she have not been dismissed by the latest Statutory Decree.

History of the class

Kaos GL’s full statement on the class is:

“Queer Studies ‘adventure’ of Ankara University Women’s Studies program started in 2013. Apparently, this adventure would not only affect the students of the department, but it would be a course for both the faculty and many different university students from Ankara. And it was! The classrooms allocated by the school for the course was swarmed. After the participant students exceeded hundreds, the course moved to conference rooms. With the interest and the demand of students, the course expanded into the second term as well.

“In fall term, with ‘Criticism of Heterosexism and the Alternative Politics’ course open to everyone the relation between the discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity and gender was opened to discussion in gender studies. Historical process of being LGBTI and their process of being political became the topics of this course. By emphasizing the historical basis of LGBTI movement and feminism, their approaches as social, cultural, political and economic structures towards femininity and masculinity have been analyzed. In a similar vein, we have also focused on the relation of heterosexism with the institutions by problematizing heteronormativity. What kind of opportunities which feminist and LGBTI movements can provide for social transformation, possibilities, intersections and imaginations have also been discussed during the classes.

“During the Queer Theory courses conducted in spring terms, we have analyzed the basic studies made from queer perspective since last 4 years. We have focused on relations and conflicts between the other social and cultural theories designed to clarify and criticize the queer theory and power, marginality, privilege and normativity. Rather lecturing queer studies as a singular and compatible school of thought, we have always problematize queer studies as a kind of field and analysis with such questions,’What kind of body and desires do queer define? What is queer politics? What does queer theory promise to us and which parts of it are problematic? Where are the main positions of queer activism nowadays? What kind of future is waiting for queer?’.

“Those classes have brought together academicians, activists, artists and many other groups from both Turkey and many different countries whose paths cross with queer theory and LGBTI studies.

“With reference to Colebrook, if we consider theory of the ‘normal’ as thoughtless absurdism of daily thinking, a paradigm of thinking or a structure of norm which criticize its illusions and stupidities, those classes were all queer in terms of the emancipation from a normative ‘image of thought’.

“Queer doesn’t need a building or a center!”

“We know that queer doesn’t need a specific building or a center, but the ones who did not approve the content of the course this term and who found it ‘risky’ actually understood the risk of the course right. Because queer has a power to destroy the institutions which you try to make a comfortable lives for yourself and the normative networks, and it is also a tool against statical thinking and acting manners.

“Our course was ended. Betül Yarar and Funda Şenol Cantek who we were conducting the course together were dismissed. Alev Özkazanç was forced to be retired. Most of the other academicians participated in our classes were also dismissed unlawfully. In this respect, although we do not have the conditions and possibilities for carrying out this course under the roof of Ankara University, we know that the university is where we are!

“This is not a farewell, but the declaration that we will continue to act with our academicians and students with whom we have walked, act and think together by this time!”

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