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School of English and Drama

Annual Catherine Silverstone Lecture

Remembering Dr. Catherine Silverstone Homepage


The Annual Catherine Silverstone Lecture 2023

Thursday 11 May 2023 at 6.45pm: Clare Hemmings, 'Accepting the Gifts: Reading Loss as Queer Feminist Method' (for further details, see below)

Attendance is FREE -- all welcome. Booking is essential -- please book via Eventbrite.

This is an in-person event in the Arts Two Lecture Theatre, ArtsTwo Building on the Mile End Campus at Queen Mary. The venue is accessible. The lecture will be followed by a wine reception.

Accepting the Gifts: Reading Loss as Queer Feminist Method: Loss has always been central to queer understandings of the past and present, as has the attempt to reframe or embrace loss as part of community. Trauma, too, of course, has been a site of important queer feminist reflection: not something to shy away from but to embrace as part of queer and decolonial reimagination of the past. In this lecture, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on loss as central to queer feminist method, reading with and across the work of my dear friend, Amal Treacher Kabesh, who died in 2022. I propose reading with Amal for the gifts she has left us as a way of refusing to relinquish her queer feminist postcolonial spirit. Amal was an Anglo-Egyptian thinker who lived between Cairo, Nottingham and London. Her work asks us to listen to things we would rather not hear, confront the irreducibility of difference but speak across it nevertheless, and perhaps most importantly, sit with the time of engagement with others: that takes as long as it must. In reading with Amal and asking for her help in unearthing buried treasures, I want to begin to craft a queer feminist method that starts from our differences, tracks both of our losses and enables a glimpse of her embodied generosity in the queer feminist here and now.


About the Annual Catherine Silverstone Lecture

Those of us who had the pleasure to work with Catherine knew her to be an intuitive thinker, a brilliant doctoral supervisor, a generous, warm, and committed teacher, and a bold leader, notably in her tenure as Head of the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary. Catherine was a highly regarded scholar of contemporary queer and decolonial studies, including in Māori performance of Shakespeare in Aotearoa New Zealand, the films of Derek Jarman, and LGBTQIA culture broadly, including in relation to club performance, queer adolescence, and performances of queer affirmation and remembrance, trauma and death.

This named lecture was founded in 2021. It honours and celebrates Catherine’s legacy by inviting a speaker to present research that is distinguished for its reflection of some of the characteristics of Catherine’s own research: rigorous, passionate, and intellectually searching in its attention to theatre and performance; elegant in its interdisciplinarity; committed to challenging the authority of the canon, whether by disturbing the influence of historical texts and authorships or by trafficking seemingly “illegitimate” objects and practices into scholarship; and robustly inclusive in its concern for feminist, queer, trans, Indigenous, Black and Brown scholarship and practices, including in the Global South.

For more information about Catherine, please visit our tribute page.


Presenters of The Annual Catherine Silverstone Lecture (2021-)

2021: Joshua Chambers-Letson (Northwestern University): 'Love Will Never Do: Black and Brown Love in a Queer Rhythm Nation' (26 May)

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