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Renegotiating Minoritarian In_Visibilities




© Pictures, top down: Maternal FantasiesHarrison Reid | SandraF | Jasper Meiners and Isabel Paehr | Sarah Held & Sylvia Sadzinski.


For questions & registration, please contact 


The three-day conference will take place on November 12–14, 2019 at the Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC) of the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany.

The conference is organised by the Research Area Visual and Material Culture Studies (RA4) of the GCSC.          



  • Oliver Klaassen (Queer Art Studies, PhD student at the GCSC; Lecturer at various German universities)
  • Cathérine Ludwig-Ockenfels (Early Modern History, PhD student at the GCSC)
  • Jana Tiborra (Art Pedagogy, Research Assistant at the Institute for Art Pedagogy, JLU; PhD student at the GCSC)
  • Katharina Wolf (Contemporary History, PhD student and Research Assistant at the GCSC)



Special Events:

12. Nov.
Isabel Paehr & Johanna Schaffer
Ambivalences of Visibility (Revised)
-Keynote Lecture-


11. Nov.
Sarah Held & Sylvia Sadzinski
Plonker - Porn - Protest.
A Performative Presentation & Movie Screening
-Pre-Conference Event-

13. Nov.
Sophie Sexon

The In_Visibility of the Non-Binary Body in Drag Performance and Medieval Visual Art.

-Lecture Performance-

14. Nov.
Jonathan D. Katz

The Sexuality of the Hard-Edge: Abstraction, Phenomenology, and Post War American Art.


Please note: Unfortunately, the Artist Talk Spectral Realities by SandraF (13. Nov.) had to be cancelled.

Cooperation Partners:

  • Institut für Kunstpädagogik (IfK) / JLU Gießen
  • Sektion "Medien and Gender" des Zentrums für Medien und Interaktivität (ZMI) / JLU Gießen
  • Zentrale Frauen und Gleichtstellungsbeauftragte und Büro für Chancengleichheit / JLU Gießen
  • Autonome AStA-Referate: Queer-Feministisches Frauenreferat und Bi*-Schwulen-Trans*-Queer-Referat / JLU Gießen
  • Gießener Hochschulgesellschaft. Gesellschaft von Freunden und Förderern der Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
  • Research Network in Queer Studies, Decolonial Feminisms and Cultural Transformation (QDFCT) / JLU Gießen
  • Büro für Frauen und Gleichberechtigung der Stadt Gießen
  • Aidshilfe Gießen e.V. im Hans Peter Hauschildhaus


Cfp: Renegotiating Minoritarian In_Visibilities

Renegotiating Minoritarian In_Visibilities
Interdisciplinary Conference, November 12-14, 2019

In recent years, the relation between visibility and invisibility of minoritarian subject positions has been renegotiated and led to a preliminary re-assessment of the political potential of the concept of visibility. Thereby, invisibility or imperceptibility are subject to significant revaluation. Especially from activist, cultural and political points of view and in the contexts of queer or non-racist politics of migration, attempts have been made to question the topos of visibility and its positive connotations. However, the debate about a possible end of the critique of representation often disregards that politics of becoming imperceptible or invisible can indeed develop new modes of presentation and perception and therefore cannot unfold beyond representation.

In an attempt to distance the renegotiation of minoritarian in_visibilities from postrepresentational arguments, this conference approaches visibility and invisibility as two mutually entangled and interdependent concepts. By using the underscore in the orthography (in_visibility), we want to highlight two approaches to these terms: On the one hand, the underscore indicates the processual continuum between the two concepts. On the other hand, we want to approach the conceptual gap between visibility and invisibility as a discursive space for the negotiation of ambiguity, vagueness and indeterminacy. The use of the term “minoritarian”, moreover, points towards context-specific processes and situations of structural discrimination due to categories of difference, thus, it highlights the process of becomingminoritarian.

However, without reducing subjects to this position, we ask how a seemingly minoritarian status can be transformed into political agency. Accordingly, our research interests focus on strategies of becoming in_visibile from a minoritarian point of view. The conference will investigate how minoritarian strategies in art and visual culture can undermine hegemonic regimes of representation and challenge the dominant patterns of visibility, assimilation and intelligibility. Recent political developments, be they the worldwide growth of repressive regimes or the neoliberal ideology of the so-called ‘Global North’, together with their accentuation of representation and enforced identity politics, underline the topicality and urgency of this approach.

Following a power-analytical as well as a critical stance toward domination and ideology, the conference will explore the connections between strategies of becoming in_visible in art and visual culture and their potential for developing individual or collective political agencies. The relations between implicit (closed, camouflaged, invisible, etc.) and explicit (blunt, open, visible, etc.) strategies of becoming in_visible and their specific, context-dependent potential for political agency shall be investigated in detailed analyses of case studies. The societal relevance of this conference is grounded in its investigation of aesthetic strategies that counteract processes of discrimination and stereotyping due to gender, sexuality, race,
ethnicity, age and further categories of difference. Considering close connections between academia, art critique/practice and activism, we want to examine the social productivity of images and develop new conceptual approaches for the comprehension of politics and emancipation in art and visual culture.

The conference will deal with the following questions and topics (amongst others):

  • How do strategies of in_visibility in art and visual culture produce and reinforce political agency for minoritarian subject positions?
  • Who is able to utilize in_visibility for political agency? Whom is this strategy denied?
  • How can minoritarian subjects become visible in art and visual culture but avoid subsequent re-discrimination and stereotyping due to their recently acquired visibility?
  • To what extent is it possible to evade intelligible and assimilationist patterns of comprehensibility by using minoritarian politics of in_visibility?
  • Who is in charge of the global circulation and the directions, speed and properties of the dissemination and marketing of minoritarian forms of in_visibility in art and visual culture?
  • How are forms of in_visibility modified by processes of imaging, image formation and mediality?
  • How can we shed light on blind spots; in particular, how can we become aware of ‘our’ ignorance of forms of invisibilities?
  • Is it possible to differentiate various forms and functions of in_visibility from a historical perspective? How and why do these forms change?
  • Analyses of different visual-aesthetic strategies and case studies of in_visibility may refer to the following theories and concepts, without being limited to them: demoulding (= EntFormen) (Fahim Amir and Johanna Schaffer 2012), Mimicry and third space (Homi K. Bhabha (1994), un-disambiguation (= VerUneindeutigung) (Antke Engel 2002), opacity (Glissant 1990), aesthetical ambiguity (Verena Krieger 2010), space-off (Teresa de Lauretis 1999); abstract drag (Renate Lorenz 2014).

Conference format:
Connecting theory and practice, the conference will provide spaces for various artistic, scholarly and political forms of exchange. Therefore, we ask for submissions for various forms of contribution (papers for panel discussions, workshops and/or other experimental formats).
Seeking trans- and interdisciplinary exchange, we invite proposals from the disciplines of cultural studies, visual communication, art history and theory, art education as well as art practice and aesthetic-political activism, photojournalism, cultural education, history and media studies (amongst others).

Abstracts for contributions should not exceed 400 words and should be accompanied by a brief curriculum vitae of maximum three pages. Panel presentations are scheduled for 20 minutes and subsequent discussion. Workshops and other experimental formats will take 90 minutes.
A subsequent publication of the contributions is intended.

The three-day conference will take place on November 12–14, 2019 at the Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC) of the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany. The conference is organized by the Research Area “Visual and Material Culture Studies“ of the GCSC. If you need childcare for the duration of or part of the conference, kindly let us know well in advance.

Please send your proposals to
Deadline for submission is April 10, 2019.
For questions, please contact


  • Oliver Klaassen (Queer Art Studies, PhD student at the GCSC; Lecturer at various German universities)
  • Jana Tiborra (Art Pedagogy, Research Assistant at the Institute for Art Pedagogy, JLU; PhD student at the GCSC)
  • Katharina Wolf (Contemporary History, PhD student and Research Assistant at the GCSC)
  • Cathérine Ludwig-Ockenfels (Early Modern History, PhD student at the GCSC)

Selective bibliography:
Amir, Fahim / Schaffer, Johanna (2012): Die Arbeit der Form/losigkeit. Ein ästhetischer Einwand gegen die Affirmation der ‚Unsichtbarkeit‘ oder ‚postrepräsentationaler Politiken‘. In: diskurs: Frankfurter Student_innen Zeitschrift, Heft Nr. 1.12, Dezember 2012 – 61. Jahrgang, 24-30.
Bhabha, Homi K. (1994): The Location of Culture. London.
Engel, Antke (2002): Wider die Eindeutigkeit. Sexualität und Geschlecht im Fokus queerer Politik der
Repräsentation. Frankfurt/M.
Glissant, Édouard (2010): Poetics of Relation [1990]. Ann Arbor.
Krieger, Verena (Hg.) (2010): Ambiguität in der Kunst: Typen und Funktionen eines ästhetischen Paradigmas. Köln et al.
Lauretis, Teresa de (1999): Die andere Szene: Psychoanalyse und lesbische Sexualität. Frankfurt a. M.
Lorenz, Renate (2012): Queer Art. A Freaky Theory. Bielefeld.


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Renegotiating Minoritarian In_Visibilities

12.-14. November 2019

International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany


Conference Programme


Monday, 11. November 2019

6:30-8:30 p.m


Pre-Conference Event

Chair: Greta Olson

Sarah Held (Vienna) & Sylvia Sadzinski (Berlin): Plonker - Porn - Protest. A Performative Presentation and Movie Screening.


Tuesday, 12. November 2019

1:00-1:45 p.m


Welcome and Introduction

Official Introduction to the Conference by the Organisation Team

 Break (15 min.)

2:00-3:30 p.m


Panel I: In_Visible Relations and Solidarities

Chair: Jana Tiborra


Regina Brückner (Berlin): (In)Visibilities of Racism and Neonazi Terrorism: the “National Socialist Underground” in Audiovisual Media

Sebastian Garbe (Giessen): In_Visible Solidarities – Negotiating Political and Social Coalitions across Differences


Clara-Sophie Höhn (Augsburg): Hidden Histories? White Southern Women and their “in_visible” involvement in the Civil Rights Movement


Break (30 min.)

4.00-5:45 p.m.


Workshop I  (closed event)

Chair: Katharina Wolf


Maicyra Leão e Silva (Sergipe) & Magdalena Kallenberger (Weimar): Maternal Fantasies – Collective Artistic Strategies of In_Visibility towards Political Agency

 Break (30 min.)


6:15-7:45 p.m.


Keynote Lecture

Chair: Oliver Klaassen & Jana Tiborra


Isabel Paehr (Berlin) & Johanna Schaffer (Kassel): Ambivalences of Visibility (Revised)


20.15 p.m.: Dinner at DachCafé


Wednesday, 13. November 2019

9:00-9:15 a.m.


Welcome & Introduction to the Second Conference Day



9:15 a.m. –

12:15 p.m.


Workshop II  (closed event)

Chair: Taya Hanauer & Rebekka Marpert


İpek Burçak (Kassel), Isabel Paehr (Berlin), Johanna Schaffer (Kassel), Nicole voec (Kassel), and Cilian Woywod (Kassel): A Set of Speculative Interventions in Virtual Space


Lunchbreak & Change of Room

2:00-3:15 p.m.

IfK, PHIL II, H105 (Photo Studio)

Artist Talk

Welcome: Ansgar Schnurr | Chair: Jana Tiborra


SandraF (London/Vienna): Spectral Realities   - CANCELLED-


Break & Change of Room (30 min.)

3:45-5:15 p.m.


Panel II: Critiquing Hegemonic In_Visibilities

Chair: Cathérine Ludwig-Ockenfels


Lisa Beckmann (Giessen): The Politics of Staring: Negotiating Disability and Visibility from the Freak Show to the Ugly Laws in the US  -CANCELLED-


Sebastian Köthe (Berlin): Censorship and Politics of In_visibility in the “global war on terror”. The Case of Abu Zubaydah.


Fadi Saleh (Göttingen): Queer/Humanitarian Visibility: The Emergence of the Figure of "the Suffering Syrian Gay Refugee”

5:15-6:15 p.m.




6:15-7:15 p.m.


Lecture Performance

Chair: Danae Gallo González


Sophie Sexon (Glasgow): The In_Visibility of the Non-Binary Body in Drag Performance and Medieval Visual Art


Evening Reception (7.15-8.30 p.m., GCSC, Foyer, MFR)


Thursday, 14. November 2019

9:00-9:15 a.m.


Welcome & Introduction to the Third Conference Day



9:15-10:15 a.m.



Chair: Cathérine Ludwig-Ockenfels


Jonathan D. Katz (Philadelphia): The Sexuality of the Hard-Edge: Abstraction, Phenomenology, and Post War American Art 


Break (15 min.)

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.


Panel III: Queer-Feminist In_Visibilities 

Chair: Oliver Klaassen


Sarah Held (Wien): Subversion & Intervention - Material Culture as a Strategy of Visualization of Sexual Violence and Feminines


Sylvia Sadzinski (Berlin): Queer Feminist Curating or How to Go Beyond Politics of Representation?


William J. Simmons (Los Angeles): Queer Materialisms and Imaginary Friends


Break (30 min.)

12:30-1:30 p.m.


Concluding Debate

Final Discussion

Official Farewell with the Organisation Team





Alter Steinbacher Weg 38

35394 Giessen


Please take a look at this map to find your way to the GCSC building:

Find us by train:

From Giessen railway station: take regional train to "Giessen Licher Strasse" (s. Please take a look at the map below to find your way to the GCSC building from the station.


Find us by bus:

From the train station Gießen Oswaldsgarten and the bus stop Gießen Marktplatz the bus line 801 goes to the bus stop Ostschule. When you arrive at Gießen Ostschule you will see the main buildings of the Philosophikum I. From the train station Gießen you reach the stop Gießen Marktplatz with the bus lines 2, 5, 15, 24.
Alternative: Line 10 (from Gießen train station) and line 802 (Gießen Oswaldsgarten and Marktplatz) to the stop Giessen Philosophikum II. The walk from there is about 10 minutes.

Here you will find the current route planner:

Or by car:

If you are letting a route planner create the best route for you, or if you are using a GPS/Navigation system, simply enter the address: Alter Steinbacher Weg 38, 35394 Giessen.


Ludwigstrasse 34

35394 Giessen



Institute for Art Pedagogy: Photo Studio

Philosophicum II,
Karl-Glöckner-Str. 21 H,
House H, Room 105 (1st floor)



  • Oliver Klaassen, M.A. (Art Studies / Lecturer / Ph.d. Candidate, GCSC, JLU Giessen)
  • Cathérine Ludwig-Ockenfels, M.A. (History / Ph.d. Candidate, GCSC, JLU Giessen)
  • Jana Tiborra, M.A. (Art Education / Research Assistant, Institute for Art Education; Ph.D. Candidate, GCSC, JLU Giessen)
  • Katharina Wolf, M.A. (History / Research Assistant & Ph.d. Candidate, GCSC, JLU Giessen)

If you have any questions or would like to participate, please send an email to: