Transnational Queer Cultures and Digital Media
Special Issue of Communication, Culture & Critique
Co-Editors: Yener Bayramoğlu, Łukasz Szulc, Radhika Gajjala
Extended Abstracts (1,500 Words) Deadline: 1st Jun 2023
Complete Manuscript (max. 7000 words, including references) Deadline: 1st Nov 2023
Publication Date: mid/end 2024
Queer cultures have long been transnational. People not conforming to traditional gender and sexual roles have long exchanged letters, magazines, or films across borders and traveled to different places to fulfill themselves or meet others (Loist, 2018; Szulc, 2018). In times of rapid technological developments, large migration flows, and intense cross-cultural exchange, queer connections take on new forms and meanings that develop at the intersection of intertwined scales: urban, regional, national, continental, and global; physical and digital (Friedman, 2017; Pain, 2022; Ramos & Mowlabocus, 2020).
While exciting new research into queer digital cultures has been growing exponentially in the last two decades—including works that go beyond the dominant Anglo-American and Eurocentric perspectives—most academic studies on the topic fall within the confines of national case studies. Nations have not faded into oblivion in the 21st century as they not only continue to shape the legislative, political, and social conditions but also provide meaningful cultural contexts for queer lives. However, other scales—as well as their imbrication—remain equally important; especially now when, arguably, digital technologies accelerate the transnational interactions and transformations of culture (Brunton, 2022; Szulc, 2023).
Rethinking digital queer cultures from the vantage point of the transnational inevitably foregrounds the modes of becoming beyond gender and sexual identity. The transnational perspective does not only bring questions of how queerness is imagined, experienced, and practiced through digital media across time and space, but also how it is entangled with postcoloniality and digital border regimes (Bayramoğlu & Lünenborg, 2018; Boston, 2016; Shield, 2019). As the worrying developments in several countries over the last decade have shown, digital media open doors for equally transnational and digital mobilizations fueled by anti-queer and anti-trans ideologies, racism, and hate speech (Nash & Browne, 2020; Righetti, 2021). Moreover, digital media technologies turn queer lifeworlds into data (Bivens, 2017; Guyan, 2022), ready to be used and abused by national state institutions, international organizations, and multinational corporations.
This Special Issue will address the ambivalences of contemporary queer cultures by zooming in on their intrinsic transnational and digital condition. We invite research-based, theoretically informed, and critically oriented contributions on queer digital cultures that go beyond methodological nationalism. Single or comparative national case studies are welcome insofar as they contextualize the national in relation to other relevant scales of analysis. We seek contributions that highlight the importance of queer transnational cultures, especially in contexts that are underrepresented in Anglophone academia, and that challenge the tendencies towards universalizing digital queer cultures of the Global North.
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
· Global platforms, infrastructures, and data affecting queer cultures
· Queer transnational counterpublics and safe spaces on the internet
· Queer digital activism and solidarity across national borders
· Hybridization and creolization of queer cultures through digital media
· Queer content creators and their international audiences
· Queers’ use of local, national, and global social media platforms and apps
· Queer films, shows, and videos on transnational digital media platforms
· Queering digital diaspora, digital border, and migration
· Mediated transnational and migrant cultures of sex, romance, and dating
· Digital gender diversity, trans cultures, and anti-trans campaigns
· Digital media and queers in times of conflicts, disasters, and displacements
· Race, ethnicity, nationality, language, and religion in queer digital cultures
· Postcolonial and decolonial perspectives on queer digital cultures
Yener Bayramoğlu (he/him) is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom. His research focuses on queer migration, digital media, communication history, borders, hate speech, and disinformation. His current work explores media practices of belonging within queer diaspora. He is the author of Queere Un/Sichtbarkeiten (Queer In/Visibilities: The History of Queer Representation in Turkish and German Tabloid Journalism) and co-author of Post/pandemisches Leben (Post/Pandemic Life: A New Theory of Fragility), both published in Germany. His work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals including Media, Culture & Society and Ethnic & Racial Studies.
Łukasz Szulc (he/him) is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Digital Media and Culture at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He specializes in critical and cultural studies of digital media at the intersections of gender, sexuality, and transnationalism. His publications include a monograph Transnational Homosexuals in Communist Poland: Cross-Border Flows in Gay and Lesbian Magazines (Palgrave, 2018), an edited collection LGBTQs, Media, and Culture in Europe (Routledge, 2016), and numerous articles in such journals as Communication Theory, New Media & Society, and Social Media + Society. Łukasz sat on the board of directors at the International Communication Association (ICA) and was a co-chair of ICA’s LGBTQ Studies interest group between 2017 and 2021. He is a member of editorial boards at the International Journal of Cultural Studies, International Journal of Communication, and Communication, Culture & Critique.
Radhika Gajjala (she/her) is a Professor of Media and Communication and of American Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University, United States. Her books include: Digital Diasporas: Labor and Affect in Gendered Indian Digital Publics (2019), Online Philanthropy in the Global North and South: Connecting, Microfinancing, and Gaming for Change (2017), Cyberculture and the Subaltern (Lexington Press, 2012), and Cyberselves: Feminist Ethnographies of South Asian Women (Altamira, 2004). She has co-edited collections on Cyberfeminism 2.0 (2012), Global Media Culture and Identity (2011), South Asian Technospaces (2008) and Webbing Cyberfeminist Practice (2008). She has been co-editor of the journal Ada: A Journal of Gender and New Media and continues with the Fembot Collective as Managing Editor. She is currently working on a book with Rutgers Press on Global South Activist Digital Publics.
Bayramoğlu, Yener & Lünenborg, Margreth (2018). Queer migration and digital affects: Refugees navigating from the Middle East via Turkey to Germany. Sexuality & Culture, 22(4), 1019-1036.
Bivens, Rena (2017). The gender binary will not be deprogrammed: Ten years of coding gender on Facebook. New Media & Society, 19(6), 880-898.
Boston, Nicholas (2016). Libidinal cosmopolitanism: The case of digital sexual encounters in postenlargement Europe. In: S. Ponzanesi, and G. Colpani (Eds.) Postcolonial Transitions in Europe: Contexts, Practices and Politics (pp. 291–312). Rowman & Littlefield.
Brunton, Douglas-Wade (2022). The digital Creole. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 25(5), 492-499.
Friedman, Elisabeth Jay (2017). Interpreting the Internet: Feminist and Queer Counterpublics in Latin America. University of California Press.
Guyan, Kevin (2022). Queer Data: Using Gender, Sex and Sexuality Data for Action. Bloomsbury.
Loist, Skadi (2018). Crossover dreams: Global circulation of queer film on the film festival circuits. Diogenes, 62(1), 57-72.
Nash, Catherine Jean & Browne, Kath (2020). Heteroactivism: Resisting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Rights and Equalities. Zed Books.
Pain, Paromita (Ed.) (2022). LGBTQ Digital Cultures: A Global Perspective. Routledge.
Ramos, Regner & Mowlabocus, Sharif (Eds.) (2020). Queer Sites in Global Contexts: Technologies, Spaces and Otherness. Routledge.
Righetti, Nicola (2021). The anti-gender debate on social media. A computational communication science analysis of networks, activism, and misinformation. Comunicazione Politica, 23(2), 223-250.
Shield, Andrew DJ (2019). Immigrants on Grindr: Race, Sexuality and Belonging Online. Palgrave Macmillan.
Szulc, Łukasz (2018). Transnational Homosexuals in Communist Poland: Cross-Border Flows in Gay and Lesbian Magazines. Palgrave Macmillan.
Szulc, Łukasz (2023). Culture is transnational. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 26(1), 3-15.