previous events: 2019

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

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

22nd January, 2019 - 1-2pm

We discussed four short trials to explore how queer bodies and selves were represented/negotiated in 18th century socio-legal discourses.

: All of these sources come from Rictor Norton's website Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England

Case Trials of Princess Seraphina, Mother Clap, William Brown and James Dalton

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

20th February, 2019 - 4-6pm

Co-organised with the Student Union for LGBTQ+ History Month.

Chair: Prof. Mark Knights

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

ReadingsLetters of Aphra Behn, Case Trials of Princess Seraphina, Mother Clap, William Brown and James Dalton.

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W.H. Auden, Poetry, and History: In Conversation with Prof. Carolyn Steedman

5th March, 2019 - 4:30-6pm


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

9th May, 2019 - 4-6pm

Poorva Rajaram (JNU, Delhi) is a writer and a co-organiser of the Bangalore Queer Film Festival. She is also a PhD research scholar at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She used to work as a journalist and co-founded The Ladies Finger, an online women's zine.

Chair: Dr Laura Schwartz (History, Warwick)
Discussant: Dr. J. Daniel Luther (Sociology, Warwick)

Co-organised with the Centre for the Study of Women & Gender

"This talk draws on my own experiences of LGBT and feminist activism in India. I will descriptively map out and then analyse 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. 

In these spaces, we tried to sharpen our understandings of compulsory heterosexuality, forced marriage within religious community and caste, activist over-dependence on the law and the global AIDS-funding paradigm. We also addressed immediate questions like economic livelihoods, crisis intervention, suicide-prevention and the possibility of an autonomous trans activism. Since we had no obvious history to draw upon, much of our labour was focussed on creating a new vocabulary to describe and understand our situation. We had to borrow and transform available activist vocabularies from the human rights world, lesbian subcultures in the west, global marxism, queer theorising from academia and the Indian women’s movement. At a moment when all of us are witnessing the dismantling of the historical experiment that was 'LBT' activism, instead of being content with simple memorialisation or a narrative of loss, I want to reflect on how this history can be creatively mobilised to grapple with political futures."

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'Queer and Muslim' A Discussion Panel

13th June, 2019 - 5-6pm

This event was ran as part of 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. Through what means, resources and struggles can such dialectics be harnessed and dispersed? How can the government, schools, universities and other civil society formations play a critical role in empowering such practices? Is it possible to do this while being attendant to the intersections of community, immigration and rhetoric of rights that surround it?

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Worlding Queerness in Asia: Film Screening & Discussion

17th June, 2019 - 5-7pm

This event was ran as part of the Warwick Stonewall 50 Celebration

Poorva Rajaram (Delhi) in conversation with Dr. Karl Schoonover (Warwick) ; Curated by 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.

As film increasingly dominates the visions of life and being in the world, this panel followed from the seminal work of Dr. Karl Schoonover in Queer Cinema in the World to discuss the ways in which film is bringing into conception queer worlds across Asia and its diasporas. Imagining new ways of being, thinking, and articulating desires and longing, love and struggle, and the violence that is imposed on ways of being queer in the world.

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Transnational Connections: Feminist Queer Politics from Warwick University to BomGay with Prof R. Raj Rao

Monday 22nd July, 2019 - 12pm-1pm / 5pm-7pm

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

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. 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. He studied for a post doc degree at the University of Warwick in 1986 and in an interview explained how his decision to begin organising queer political courses, activism, and work in Mumbai in the 1990s was influenced by his experience of the queer and feminist movements in the University of Warwick in the 1980s. Rao’s collections of essays on queer politics in India and his discussion of the queer and feminist movement in Warwick in the 80s shed light on the power and impact of transnational collective organising and the role of Warwick in inspiring his literary work and his activism.

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

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Queering the British Library with Steven Dryden

Tuesday 15th October 2019 - 4-6pm

In collaboration with the Library and the Oral History Network.

Blog: 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. Steven's research interests include memory, activism and identity in contemporary culture. He led investigations into the audio and audio visual for the Academic Book of the Future in 2016.

This session was split into two sections but were connected. Section one focused on queer history and section two focused on oral history.

The first section 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. Steven brought along some interesting clips from the Library that have been found in the collection over the last few years of work.

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
J. Daniel Luther & Jennifer Ung Loh in conversation with Goldie Osuri & Somak Biswas

Monday 21st October 2019 - 4:30-6:30pm

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

Blog: 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 with Professor Alibhe Smyth

Friday 25th October, 2019 - 12-2pm

Centre for the Study of Women & Gender in collaboration with the Queer History Reading Group

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. She convenes the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment, and is a regular contributor to media and national debate in Ireland. She was included on the Time Magazine list of the 100 most influential people in 2019.

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Impossible Desires

Tuesday 19th November, 2019 - 1-2pm

In 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

Friday 29th November 2019 - 4:30-6pm 

Warwick Pride event supported by Queer History Warwick.

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. We welcomed:

  • Shahnaz Akhtar (Politics, Warwick) who spoke on queer Muslim communities in Britain and the larger context of immigration, diaspora and race that shape their politics and practices.
  • Sara Bamdad (Sociology, Warwick) who spoke on the history of queer sexualities in Islamicate cultures.
  • Saima Razzaq (Birmingham Pride) who spoke on 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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