Professor Jack Halberstam (Columbia University)

14 September 2022 (7.30pm, Advanced Research Centre, 11 Chapel Lane) 'Collapse, Demolition, and the Queer Geographies’ (co-hosted by the Glasgow Doors Open Open Days Festival). A recording of the talk is available via this link.

15 September 2022 (6pm, Charles Wilson Lecture Theatre, University of Glasgow, 3 Kelvin Way, Glasgow G12 8NN) 'Unworlding: An Aesthetics of Collapse'. Click here for a recording of the talk.

More information about the talks and speaker:

'Collapse, Demolition and the Queer Geographies'

This talk will explore demolition, dereliction, queerness and dispossession in relation to Glasgow in particular. I have written in the past about the dereliction of NYC in the 1970’s and about demolition and the various kinds of queer art projects that focused on demolition sites in NYC at that time, but for this event on flux and urban decay and renewal in relation to Glasgow, I will focus on queer art and architecture in works focused on Glasgow. In Shuggie Bain, the queer child moves around the city with his alcoholic mother in the 1970’s, shifting from one ruinous housing development to another and the social rejection he experiences plays out against a backdrop of slag heaps and clay pits. Like the detritus of industrial collapse, queer life unfolds in the ruins and eschews improvement and development for demolition and destruction. Earlier in the century, another queer artist, Joan Eardley, painted complex portraits of street kids she met  hear her studio in Townhead. Slated for demolition, Townhead offers a dramatic backdrop for childhood. What are the connections, I will ask, between representations of (queer) children in the works of Douglas Stuart and Joan Eardley, and their depictions of Glasgow itself as a site of change, collapse and urban pessimism?
'Unworlding: An Aesthetics of Collapse'

How can concepts such as the human, subject, object or animal be tipped out of their hierarchical formations? How can they form new orders of meaning and relations to one another? The major philosophical traditions of the last century, presume a totality of things, a form of being that exists through the sorting of subjects from objects, objects from things and things from unseen forces. And while world” and “life” seem to offer vectors for utopian thinking (“another world is possible”), these totalizing concepts have also been predicated upon anti-Blackness and from the elevation of the human above all other forms of life. Rather than holding out for new worlds, revitalized notions of life, or remade utopian dreams, this lecture begins with the premise that world-making, as currently conceived, can only proceed by way of unworlding or world unmaking. The talk follows a series of aesthetic experiments from the 1970’s to the present that revel in collapse, destruction and ruination.

Jack Halberstam, 'Unworlding: An Aesthetics of Collapse' (Gifford Lecture) imageJack Halberstam is Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University. Halberstam is the author of seven 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), Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and, a short book titled Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variance (University of California Press). Halberstam’s latest book, 2020 from Duke UP is titled Wild Things: The Disorder of DesirePlaces journal awarded Halberstam its Arcus/Places Prize in 2018 for innovative public scholarship on the relationship between gender, sexuality and the built environment. Halberstam is now finishing a second volume on wildness titled: Unworlding: An Aesthetics of Collapse. Halberstam was recently the subject of a short film titled So We Moved by Adam Pendleton which played at MoMA through January 30, 2022.