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Mon, 28 Nov


Pok Fu Lam Road, Lung Fu Shan, Hong Kong

Tuula Juvonen | Lesboratories, Or On The Productivity of Material Intra-Actions

November 26, 2016 @ 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

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Time & Location

28 Nov 2016, 7:00 pm

Pok Fu Lam Road, Lung Fu Shan, Hong Kong

About the Event

By Tuula Juvonen, University of Tampere Date: Mon 28 Nov 2016 Time: 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm Location: Rm813, 8/F, The Jockey Club Tower, HKU

Lesbian communities are often seen as an unproblematic point of departure for empirical research, as if they would have always already been there, stable entities, ready to be studied. In my paper I want to argue that lesbian communities should rather be conceptualized as “lesboratories”, as apparatuses, which enable the constant state of becoming both for the community itself, and those lesbian subjectivities which both create it and emerge out of its affective resonances.

Such an approach, which benefits from the theoretical work of Karen Barad (1996) and Rainer Mühlhoff (2015), is particularly productive when studying the emerging lesbian communities, in this case in Finland of the 1980s. In the paper I explore how lesbian subjectivities started to emerge from the intra-actions of gendered bodies that were taking place in and with two subsequent venues, Työväentalo and Mixei, in Tampere. Based on oral history interviews I have conducted with women who used to frequent the dance parties held in those places, and a few related news articles, I seek to tune in to the self-understanding of an emerging sexual community.

I do that by focusing on certain material items mentioned in the interviews as those venues were discussed, such as door signs, a bar counter, beer bottles, music equipment, and curtains. I argue that the intra-actions they enabled and the affective resonance they initiated among the patrons were vital for the particularities of emerging lesbian subjectivities.

Tuula Juvonen works as an Academy Research Fellow at the University of Tampere, Finland. After finishing her Ph.D. on the post-war construction of Finnish homosexuality, she has scrutinized the heteronormativity of diverse professional practices which have been involved in knowledge production about female and male homosexuality, such as journalism, sex research, parliamentary politics, and archiving. Currently Dr. Juvonen is studying intimate and social lives of women with same-sex sexual attractions in Tampere since the 1970s. She is also the Principal Investigator of the Academy of Finland funded multi- and transdisciplinary gender studies project Just the Two of Us? Affective inequalities in intimate relationships. Together with Marjo Kolehmainen, Raisa Jurva and Annukka Lahti, this project studies the affective use of power in heterosexual, bisexual and lesbian relationships.

Co-presented by the Women’s Studies Research Centre and the Department of Sociology

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