Beyond the Culture Wars: LGBTIQ History Now Conference

14 September 2016

The 16th AHH Conference
Friday 25 to Saturday 26 November 2016
La Trobe University, Melbourne
215 Franklin St, Melbourne


Contemporary sexual politics is being dominated again by the polarizing politics of culture wars. This conference invites contributions reflecting on the experiences of LGBTIQ people living in and beyond the culture wars.  As Janice Irvine has argued, culture war encounters are productive events – shaping their protagonists as much as they shape the sexual politics of the time. What can we learn from past episodes of culture wars around gay liberation, law reform, public health and education? Are there dangers in engaging in culture wars? How can we live well when our terms of existence are being questioned? How can we move beyond engagements that amplify anti-LGBTIQ voices?


Professor Anna Marie Jagose is a renowned scholar in feminist studies, lesbian/gay studies and queer theory. The author of four monographs, most recently Orgasmology, which takes orgasm as its scholarly object in order to think queerly about questions of politics and pleasure; practice and subjectivity; agency and ethics. She is also an award-winning novelist and short story writer.

Professor Melissa M. Wilcox is the Holstein Family and Community Chair of Religious Studies, University of California, Riverside. Melissa M. Wilcox’s research interests focus on religion and social justice, particularly in the realm of queer studies in religion. Books she has published include: Coming Out in Christianity: Religion, Identity, and Community (Indiana University Press 2003); Sexuality and the World’s Religions (co-edited with David Machacek, ABC-CLIO 2003); Queer Women and Religious Individualism(Indiana University Press 2009); and Religion in Today’s World: Global Issues, Sociological Perspectives (Routledge 2013). She has also published articles on topics ranging from religious individualism to the Metropolitan Community Church and from 9/11 and the national mythos to self-injury and ritual studies. She is currently writing a book entitled Serious Parody: Religion, Queer Activism, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and is working on two textbook projects on sexuality and religion.

Please note, that Masha Gessen is no longer able to be a keynote at the Conference; however, she will be part of a public event in the week following the Conference, see associated events for details.


Online registration has now closed. Limited registration will be available at the door.


La Trobe University
215 Franklin Street
Melbourne 3000


La Trobe University Franklin Street Campus Map.


Commercial car parking facilities are available in the vicinity of the campus and at the Queen Victoria Market. On-site, undercover visitor parking (for disabled attendees only) can be booked by contacting the Conference Committee:


All conference rooms and adjacent conference spaces are wheelchair accessible, and on the ground floor.

Public transport

The La Trobe University Franklin St Campus is easily accessible by public transport, cycling, or by car.

Please note that due to track improvement works on Saturday 26 November, Swanston St and Collins St trams will not be operating.


Final program (updated 22 November 2016).


Keynotes, abstracts and biographies (updated 21 November 2016).

Associated events

Joan Nestle: A Lifetime of Queer Words and Conference Opening Reception 

Thursday 24 November @ Hares and Hyenas, 63 Johnston St, Fitzroy

Thursday 24 November
6.30pm – A Lifetime of Queer Words
8.00pm – Conference Opening Reception

Iconic queer writer, archivist, and ALGA patron, Joan Nestle, is presenting three nights of diverse readings at Hares & Hyenas. We have secured 50 tickets for Beyond the Culture Wars participants for the second of these nights, Thursday 24 November. These can be accessed through the special conference link for only $10. The tickets are selling fast, so book now! If you can’t make the reading, join us afterwards for a drink for the Conference Opening Reception.

Here and Queer: Gay Rights Across the Globe

Featuring Masha Gessen, Dennis Altman and Anna Brown

Monday 28 November 2016, 8.15pm-9.30pm at The Wheeler Centre

FREE, bookings are essential.

In 2013, Russian made news around the world, introducing federal laws banning ‘homosexual propaganda’. The laws effectively made a crime of gay activism, reducing non-heterosexuals to second-class citizens.

While Australia discusses the prospect of gay people having the right to marry, there are many other countries where gay people are deprived of even more basic rights. Russia might have earned international headlines for its 2013 laws, but the situation is even worse elsewhere. There are 73 countries where homosexuality is punishable with a prison sentence.

For this conversation, we’re bringing Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen together with queer author and icon Dennis Altman for a broader conversation about queer rights. The pair will discuss gay rights and gender diversity, locally and across the globe. How helpful is the language of human rights for discussing the oppression of LGBT people? How do populist, anti-Western sentiments play into the oppression of gay people in non-western countries? What do we know about the displacement of gay and gender diverse people across the world? And how optimistic can we be about a brighter future?

Presented in partnership with La Trobe University.


The Conference Committee can be contacted via email on: