previous events: 2019

On this page you will find details of our events from the year 2019. Throughout the year, we started to expand beyond the limits of a reading group and offering more diverse types of events. At the time we operated as the Queer History Reading Group and transitioned to become Queer History Warwick in the new academic year, September 2019. We were supported by the History Department at the University of Warwick.

Queer Selfhoods: Sodomy Trials and Gay Sub-Culture in Eighteenth-Century England

22nd January, 2019 

During this reading group session we discussed four short trials to explore how queer bodies and selves were represented/negotiated in 18th century socio-legal discourses.


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Hidden Histories presents "Queer Selfhoods: Sodomy Trials and Gay Subculture"

20th February, 2019 

A collaboration with the Student Union for LGBTQ+ History Month.

Chair: Prof. Mark Knights

This talk discussed four short trials, letters and poems in order to explore how queer bodies, selves and desires were represented/negotiated in English socio-legal discourses and beyond in the long 18th century.


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W.H. Auden, Poetry, and History

5th March, 2019 

Chair: Carolyn Steedman

This reading group session was led by Carolyn Steedman and discussed the poetry of W.H. Auden as well as what poetry might mean for historians.


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Lost Before it was Found: The LBT Movement in Indian LGBT Activism

9th May, 2019 

A collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Women & Gender

Chair: Dr Laura Schwartz (History, Warwick)

Discussant: Dr. J. Daniel Luther (Sociology, Warwick)

Speaker: Poorva Rajaram (JNU, Delhi)

Poorva Rajaram (JNU, Delhi) is a PhD research scholar at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. This talk draws on Poorva's own experiences of LGBT and feminist activism in India. It descriptively mapped out and then analysed the two and half decade long career of activism that took place under the collective banner of LBT (Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender). From a period beginning roughly in the 1990s, 'LBT' activists and groups often met as a separate stream. Yet, this history is not particularly well-documented or well-known partly because LBT activists maintained a distance from the international NGO-backed, gay-male led campaign to repeal the sodomy law, Section 377, in India.

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'Queer and Muslim' A Discussion Panel

13th June, 2019 

A collaboration with the Warwick Stonewall 50 Celebration

Speakers: Saima Razzaq (Hidayah); Prof. Azrini Wahidin (Sociology, Warwick)

Moderator: Amal Malik (History, Warwick)

The controversy in Birmingham schools over the teaching of LGBTQ+ issues brought to light the sharp disconnect between mainstream gay rights discourse and Muslim (but also other minority) diasporas in Britain. This roundtable - comprising of queer Muslim organisations and commentators - considered how our politics and pedagogic practices can help bridge this gap, without stigmatising entire communities as 'backward' or undesirable. We discussed why it is necessary to foreground queer Muslim movements, struggles and discourses in this debate so as to create a discussion that can mediate the traffic between their queerness and the specificities of their faith. It engaged various aspects of queer Muslim discourses: reflecting on their identities, plural histories and ways to negotiate their marginality.

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Worlding Queerness in Asia: Film Screening & Discussion

A collaboration with Warwick Stonewall 50 Celebration and Queer Asia

17th June, 2019

Speakers: Dr. Karl Schoonover (Warwick) and Poorva Rajaram (Delhi)

Curator: Dr. J. Daniel Luther (Warwick)

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, the Queer History Reading Group at Warwick and 'Queer' Asia brought for the very first time to the Midlands a collection of short films focusing on the love, celebrations, and struggles of queer identifying people from Asia and its diasporas. From experimental film to the docufiction, it was a powerful evening of films that transgress borders, expose oppression, and challenge the ways in which we rethink family, love, longing, and desires.


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Transnational Connections: Feminist Queer Politics from Warwick University to BomGay

22nd July, 2019 

A collaboration with 'Queer' Asia and Centre for the Study of Women and Gender (CSWG), University of Warwick.

Speaker: Prof R. Raj Rao

This event was a screening of BomGay (Dir. Riyad Vinci Wadia), a 1996 Indian anthology of short films directed by Riyad Vinci Wadia and Jangu Sethna (India). The film stars Kushal Punjabi and Rahul Bose with music by Ashutosh Phatak. It is often regarded as India’s first gay film and is known for its controversial gay sex scene in a library. It was followed by a post-screen discussion with Prof. R. Raj Rao. Prof. R. Raj Rao is one of India’s first mainstream out gay novelists and academics, who has published his collection of essays on queer politics in India titled Criminal Love: Queer Theory, Culture, and Politics in India.

Total Film Festival programme ran from 17th June-22nd July

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  • Queering the British Library 15th October, 2019

    A collaboration with the Library and the Oral History Network.

    Speaker: Steven Dryden

    Event Review: Queering the British Library - Louise Morgan

    Steven Dryden is the Broadcast Recordings Curator at the British Library (BL). In 2017 he co-curated the exhibition Gay UK: Love, Law and Liberty at the BL. The first section of the talk involved a presentation from Steven in which he showcased some of the queer history available in the British Library's collections, touching on topics such as language and archives. The second section looked at a brief overview of the oral history resources that relate to LGBTQ lives in the British Library.

    Recommended Reading

    • R. B. Parkinson (2013) A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity Across the World. London: British Museum Press. - Introduction


    Materials from the Session

    Note regarding 'Audio Recording Part 2': this session contained more Q & A than the first session so if you can hear yourself recorded and would like this part removed then please do let us know via our email ( and we can do that for you.

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Re-imagining 'Queer' Asia: Book Launch and Discussion

21st October, 2019

A collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender (CSWG).

Speakers: J. Daniel Luther, Jennifer Ung Loh, Goldie Osuri & Somak Biswas

Event Review: Queer Asia Book Launch - Somak Biswas

This event celebrated and launched the book Queer Asia: Decolonising and Reimagining Sexuality and Gender. As well as the book launch, there was a discussion with editors J. Daniel Luther and Jennifer Ung Loh.

Recommended Reading

  • J. Daniel Luther & Jennifer Ung Loh (2019) Introduction. In: J. Daniel Luther & Jennifer Ung Loh. eds. Queer Asia: Decolonising and Reimagining Sexuality and Gender. Zed.
  • J. Daniel Luther & Jennifer Ung Loh (2019) Epilogue. In: J. Daniel Luther & Jennifer Ung Loh. eds. Queer Asia: Decolonising and Reimagining Sexuality and Gender. Zed.
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When Feminism Wins: Gaining the Right to Abortion in Ireland 

25th October, 2019

A collaboration with Centre for the Study of Women & Gender 

Speaker: Professor Alibhe Smyth

Blog: Event Review: When Feminism Wins - Beckie Rutherford

Ailbhe Smyth is a long-time feminist, lesbian, socialist activist. She was the founding head of Women’s Studies at UCD (University College Dublin) in 1990, and has written about feminism, politics and culture mainly in Ireland. Ailbhe left academia in the mid-2000s to focus on working with women’s community organisations and in social movement politics. She has been involved in many campaigns and was on the Strategic Executive of the victorious same-sex marriage campaign in 2015. She has been fighting for women’s right to choose for over 35 years, and was Co-Director of the Together for Yes national referendum campaign which removed the near-total ban on abortion from the Irish Constitution with a majority of 66% in 2018.

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Impossible Desires

19th November, 2019

A collaboration with the Global History and Culture Centre

This session was a discussion of two chapters from Gayatri Gopinath, Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Duke University Press: 2005) - these chapters can be found below:

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Narratives of Queer Islam: History, Politics, Protest

29th November, 2019 

A collaboration with Warwick Pride 

Speakers: Shahnaz Akhtar (Politics, Warwick), Sara Bamdad (Sociology, Warwick), Saima Razzaq (Birmingham Pride)

For Pride Week and Islamophobia Awareness Month, Warwick Pride and Warwick Queer History Group presented Narratives of Islam: History, Politics, Protest. The format was short talks followed by discussion on the history and politics of the interactions and intersections of queerness with Islam.

Shahnaz Akhtar spoke on queer Muslim communities in Britain and the larger context of immigration, diaspora and race that shape their politics and practices. Whilst Sara Bamdad  spoke on the history of queer sexualities in Islamicate cultures. Finally Saima Razzaq discussed  her involvement and leadership in several initiatives to campaign for understanding between LGBTQ issues and Muslim communities.

This event was part of the Teach Out programme:

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