Thee UCSB Feminist Studies department will continue its “Critical Issues in America” lecture series with “Queer Perspectives on Marriage: Intimacy beyond Marriage” next Monday.
The conference will feature feminist and queer studies scholars from around the nation including Lisa Duggan of New York University and Dean Spade of the Seattle University School of Law in addition to Macarena Gomez-Barris and Judith Halberstam from the University of Southern California. e event will begin at 4 p.m. in the MultiCultural Center eatre and is free and open to the public.
Eileen Boris, chair of Feminist Studies at UCSB and co-organizer, said the event looks at controversial modern marriages from many dierent perspectives.
“e point … is to give diverse viewpoints on marriage, which has come to the fore as a hot button in American politics,” Boris said. “is is an area that is both personal and political and one that hits home for most people at UCSB.”
Although previous events this quarter have largely featured marriage-equality activists, Boris said Monday’s symposium will include queer theorists who see alternatives to achieving equality through marriage.
“Some queer theorists and feminist scholars argue that we should not organize our rights in this society around whether you are married or not,” Boris said. “[Instead they feel] people should be able to gain social benets, decent living and working situations, not on the basis of marriage, but on the basis of being a human being. e speakers are oering alternative modes of working toward social justice in a neo-liberal world.”
Feminist studies professor and series co- organizer Leila Rupp also said that there is signicant debate in the queer community about the importance of marriage as an institution, noting that many feel that civil rights should not be attached to marriage at all.
“e critics of marriage will argue that the kind of rights that area attached to marriage, the rights you get through the state, should not be attached to marriage,” Rupp said. [ey feel that] things like inheritance, insurance and medical powers of attorney should not be attached to marriage, and you should be able to attach them to anyone you wanted to, that you should be able to divide up those rights however you want.”
However, Rupp said marriage does mean more to some than just legal benets.
“Although there are very opposing perspectives on same sex marriage [within the queer community], it is kind of a false polarization,” Rupp said. “For some people I know, this means an enormous amount for them to be able to marry their life partner, and if that means that much to them, then they should be able to.”
Boris said the event appeals to a wide audience.
“These forums are for everybody, because they are addressing central issues about the place of marriage in our political economy and the relationship between marriage and social benets, rights and standing,” Boris said. “Marriage is a very rich eld to be exploring diverse viewpoints.”