Queer Studies Conference 2018

                                 UNCA Queer Studies Conference 2018          

                        Prisons, Borders, and Pipelines: Toward a Queer Abolitionist Movement

Conference Dates: April 5-7, 2018
Location: University of North Carolina, Asheville, NC

The conference program is now available! Please click the following link to access a PDF of the program: 2018 Queer Studies Conference Program

A $5 parking permit is required for off campus/community conference attendees. Please visit the 'Parking' tab below.

Conference Topics

While we welcome proposals on any topic related to sex and gender, we especially invite papers on our topic of Queer Abolition. Elaborations on the theme might include:

How does the legacy of settler-colonialism, nation-state formation, and border drawing intersect with the legal and cultural creation of gendered and sexualized bodies?
How does state repression target queer and trans people? Who is criminalized by the carceral state?
What are the histories of queer/trans resistance in prisons, on the borders, for indigenous autonomy?
As bodies are policed and medicalized, what are the methods of resistance and community care in the fields of health and wellness?
Whose stories are told with increased mainstream visibility of queer and trans people? Who is left out?
What are the cross-cultural connections among abolitionist and decolonial struggles in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, etc.?
How have recent shifts in social/cultural perspectives revealed historical contributions of queer and trans people?

Although North Carolina has been in the news for the HB2 Bill, as well as its partial repeal, Asheville is known as an LGBTQIA-friendly place; in addition, UNC Asheville has a policy on “diversity and inclusion”  and there will be all-gender bathrooms accessible to conference spaces. Detailed information about accommodations are in the Accommodations tab below. 

For additional information, email questions to qsconf@unca.edu.

Check the "2018 Proposal Guidelines" tab below for proposal information and guidelines.  

Registration and Conference Costs

UNC Asheville Students, Alumni, Faculty, and Staff have no registration charge but must pay for lunch. Please indicate your affilitation with UNCA and dietary preferences. 

Online registration can be found via this Eventbrite site. To qualify for pre-registration rates, all attendees must pay and register by March 15. If you need financial assisstance to attend this conference, please fill out this Google form and a conference coordinator will follow up. Registration fees include breakfast, snacks, and lunch:

Full-time faculty, other professionals:

On or Before March 15th: $100
After March 15th: $125

Graduate students, non-profit professionals:

On or Before March 15th: $80
After March 15th: $100
Single day pass (sessions only, food not included): $20

Unemployed or underemployed:

On or Before March 15th: $60
After March 15th: $70
Single day pass (sessions only, food not included): $20

Community Member:

On or Before March 15th: $100
After March 15th: $125
Single day pass (sessions only, food not included): $20

For additional information, email questions to Scott Branson: sbranso1@unca.edu, or Lorena Russell: lrussell@unca.edu

Keynote Presenters

Mimi Thi Nguyen “"On the Possibilities and Limits of Resilience”

Author and activist Mimi Thi Nguyen speaking into a microphone in a dimly lit room with a projector behind her. She is wearing a skeleton shirt with white ribs on the front, has short black hair angled to one side, and holding her hands open. Mimi Thi Nguyen is Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her first book is The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages (Duke University Press, 2012; Outstanding Book Award in Cultural Studies from the Association of Asian American Studies, 2014). Her following project is called The Promise of Beauty. She has also published in Signs, Camera Obscura, Women & Performance, positions, and Radical History Review. Nguyen was recently named a Conrad Humanities Scholar for 2013-2018, a designation supporting the work of outstanding associate professors in the humanities within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois.

Nguyen has made zines since 1991, including Slander (formerly known by other titles) and the compilation zine Race Riot. She is a former Punk Planet columnist and Maximumrocknroll volunteer. In June 2013, Sarah McCarry's Guillotine ("a series of erratically published chapbooks focused on revolutionary non-fiction") released PUNK, a conversation between Nguyen and Golnar Nikpour.

Dean Spade (via Skype) and a panel of local activists, with a screening of Pinkwashing Exposed

A black and white portrait of Dean Spade, he is sporting a white button down shirt, round glasses, and a slicked back cut haircut.  Dean Spade is an Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law, where he teaches Administrative Law, Poverty Law, and Law and Social Movements. In 2002, Dean founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a non-profit law collective that provides free legal services to transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming people who are low-income and/or people of color. He is strong voice in the current queer and trans abolitionist movement

glo merriweather

glo merriweather walking through a green park, holding a burning handful of sage with smoke covering their face.   glo is a Black trans community organizer from Charlotte, NC. glo has been organizing in Charlotte for the last 4 years and is currently facing 51 months in prison for their involvement in the Charlotte Uprising. In addition to advocating for their life and freedom in this case, they continue to organize around the freedom of other political prisoners like Rayquan Borum and Alejandra Pablo, who are currently in cages. They also collaborate with the Southeast Asian Coalition and Comunidad Colectiva to combat deportations and protect immigrant’s rights. glo is deeply engaged in prison abolition, native land sovereignty, and transformative justice initiatives.


Housing Accommodations and Gender Neutral Restrooms

The UNCA Queer Studies Conference has a Room Sharing Form for those looking for assistance with housing to attend the conference. Please fill out the UNCA Queer Studies Conference 2018: Room Sharing Form if interested in sharing rooms with other conference attendees. 

In support of ALL of our students and guests, UNCA has 36 All Gender bathrooms on campus, you may find the locations on our Map of UNC Asheville Gender Neutral Restrooms

UNC Asheville Preferred Accommodations

2018 Proposal Guidelines

The UNC Asheville Queer Studies Conference, a biennial event established in 1998, attracts an international audience of activists, academics, and artists who showcase a range of creative and scholarly pursuits related to the study of genders and sexualities. All LGBTQIA-related proposals will be considered. We invite a diverse representation of approaches and participants, including faculty, staff, graduate students, community members and undergraduate students. All formats will be considered, including paper presentations (15 minutes), panels (60 to 75 minutes), workshops, exhibitions, film screenings, and performances. Paper presentations will be organized into groups of 3 to 4. We welcome proposals for papers in English and Spanish.

Below are guidelines for proposals based on category:

Paper Presentation

Proposal limit: 500 words
Description: Paper presentations are limited to 15 minutes each, and will be formed into groups of 3 or 4 by topic

Panel Presentation

Proposal limit: 1000 words
Description: Panel presentations are limited to 90 minutes and consist of 3-4 presenters


Proposal limit: 1000 words
Description: Workshops may range from 60-90 minutes


Proposal limit: 500 words plus any relevant audio/images, etc.

Presentations may take various forms. We provide more information about several formats below. If you would like to present in a format not listed here, please email us at qsconf@unca.edu.


Vistors attending the conference should visit this link for parking information: https://permitsales.net/unca

Map of UNC Asheville for Queer Studies Conference