To Live and Love in Reagan’s America: Historicizing Queerness in 1980s Medi
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7/20/2018 at 9:17:44 AM GMT
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To Live and Love in Reagan’s America: Historicizing Queerness in 1980s Medi

In spite of the conservative administration in the USA, the 1980s were a decade of significant change for queer culture and representation. This shifting visibility afforded more plentiful as well as more mainstream representation. It was demonstrated in explicit moments like Rock Hudson’s declaration of his AIDS diagnosis and the subsequents reports on his sexuality, films like I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing or Looking for Langston, and even the homoeroticism of the “hard body.”


This panel seeks to understand the history and historiography of mediated instances of queer visibility in the 1980s. What types of representation existed? What were the various social/political/cultural/racial/gendered factors that shaped them? What was the initial reaction? How has this media item been historicized since?  What kinds of interventions, e.g. scholarly, reception, other media referencing the piece, have been made? How has our perception and reaction to these depictions evolved over time? How has the discourse around the media object shifted from its release until now? What is its ongoing significance, and the significance of the changing discourse that it produces or is taken up in?


This panel hopes to consider ‘queerness’ in all its iterations. While our anticipation is that all media objects should stem from the 1980s, the engagements which the papers might draw out should span various decades and methodologies. We are defining media in the broadest terms possible and are interested in papers which might engage with, but are not limited to:

  • Hollywood films

  • Independent cinema

  • Documentaries

  • Television

  • Radio

  • Print media

  • Activist art

  • Music

  • Installation art

  • Etc.


Please send a 500 word proposal, with 3-5 bibliographic resources, and 200 word biography to myrnamoretti2023@u.northwestern.edu by Friday, August 17, 2018.   




Last edited Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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