News | 7 April 2014

Call for Applications: Workshop on Sex and the Archive


Workshop on Sex and the Archive
May 20-21, 2014 • UC Santa Cruz

Open to graduate students at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UC Santa Cruz
Application deadline: Wednesday April 30, 2014


RIDAGAThis workshop is part of a UCHRI Humanities Studio on Regulating Sex/Religion, directed by Saba Mahmood (UC Berkeley) and Mayanthi Fernando (UC Santa Cruz), that examines how sex and religion are mobilized together in the management of minoritized communities in Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia. Rather than take for granted the secular narrative of sexual and religious life as private, we analyze how secular power entails the twinned regulation of religion and sexuality, and how the public/private boundary that ostensibly underpins secularity and guarantees both religious freedom and sexual freedom hinges on the management by the secular state of religious and sexual communities.

A major focus of the Studio, and of this workshop in particular, concerns how subjects are produced as members of religious and/or sexual “communities” – Copts and Muslims in Egypt, Maronites, Shi‘a, and Sunni “sects” in Lebanon, Devadasis in India, Muslim “natives” in French Algeria – through various technologies of colonial rule, such as the census and personal status legal codes. The Studio thus excavates the colonial archive, inquiring into the conditions of production of religious/sexual difference in Egypt, Lebanon, India, Britain, France, and Algeria in order better understand the relationship between past and present legal, political, and discursive arrangements of religious and/as sexual difference.

The workshop includes one day of graduate seminars on Tuesday, May 20th led by faculty participants on subjects related to their current research and within the broad rubric of sex and the archive. Graduate students will be expected to have read the relevant texts assigned for each seminar by the faculty leaders and to join in discussion alongside faculty participants. Seminar leaders and faculty participants include: Anjali Arondekar (UC Santa Cruz), Michael Allan (University of Oregon), Gina Dent (UC Santa Cruz), Mayanthi Fernando (UC Santa Cruz), Suad Joseph (UC Davis), Saba Mahmood (UC Berkeley), Marc Matera (UC Santa Cruz), Maya Mikdashi (NYU/Jadaliyya), and Judith Surkis (Rutgers University).

The graduate seminars are open to students at UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis. Student participants from UC Berkeley and UC Davis will have a hotel room provided for them for the nights of Monday May 19th and Tuesday May 20th. The graduate seminars begin at 9am on Tuesday May 20th. On Wednesday May 21, faculty participants will meet in a closed-door session to discuss work-in-progress.

How to apply

Graduate students wishing to participate should send a CV and a brief statement (maximum 1 page) regarding their current or prospective dissertation project and/or research interests to by Wednesday April 30, 2014. Contact Mayanthi Fernando ( with any questions.

Preliminary Schedule

Tuesday May 20th – Graduate Seminars

9AM: Opening Remarks and Introductions
9.30 – 11: Seminar 1 (Faculty leader: Saba Mahmood; topic TBA)
11.15-12.45: Seminar 2 (Faculty leaders: Anjali Arondekar & Judith Surkis; topic TBA)
12.45-1.45: Lunch
2-3.30: Seminar 3 (Faculty leaders: Mayanthi Fernando & Marc Matera; topic TBA)
3.45-5: General discussion
5:15-6:45: Reception