Call for Papers Deadline EXTENDED to February 18, 2024

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The theme of UCLA’s 27th annual QGrad Conference – NONSENSE – asks us to consider sense and who gets to make it. Queerness, according to Jack Halberstam, stems from “strange temporalities, imaginative life schedules, and eccentric economic practices.” In other words, nonsense. 

Keynote Speakers: Chris E. Vargas (left) & Eric A. Stanley (right)

We’re pleased to welcome two nationally renowned artists and scholars who champion nonsense: Chris E. Vargas, founder of MOTHA (the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art), a Creative Capital Grantee, and Guggenheim Fellow, as well as Eric A. Stanley, whose 2021 book Atmospheres of Violence (Duke University Press) won the Sylvia Rivera Award for Transgender Studies. Together, they’ve co-directed the queer cult films Criminal Queers and Homotopia, which have screened at Outfest, New Museum, et al.

We encourage explorations of what it means to make “sense” or rather, to queer sense(s). Since those in power often accuse the marginalized of not making sense, how can nonsense lead to meaning-making and placemaking beyond boundaries, beyond structures, beyond hegemonic binaries and dialectics? How does nonsense make cuts between rational and irrational, between appropriate and inappropriate, between what gets labeled a stable life and what gets dismissed as immature, chaotic, and excessive? By holding up a funhouse mirror to the normal, nonsense can help us assess communities, corporealities, aesthetics, and more.

Please direct questions to: qgradconference@gmail.com

Organizing Committee

Patty Gone (she/they) is a PhD Candidate in Performance Studies at UCLA, and holds an MFA in Poetry from UMass-Amherst. Her research interests include Trans & Queer Theory, Affect, Postmodernism, and Aesthetic Theory, especially in relation to Camp and Surrealism. Her art criticism has appeared in Art Papers, The Believer, and Hyperallergic, and she has performed or exhibited her own work at the Queens Museum, The Poetry Project, Smack Mellon, Human Resources, REDCAT, and more.





Lili Flores (she/her, they/them) is a transdisciplinary artist and scholar based on Tongva Land (Los Angeles, California). Currently–a Ph.D candidate at UCLA Arts, focusing on Culture and Performance, within the department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance. As a Chicanx Indígena, raised in Kuruvungna (West Los Angeles)–much of their own fluid identity informs their research interests in Mesoamerican ethno-archaeology, education, and museum & curatorial studies. The driving force of their research and community-engaged artistic practice is the trajectory of storytelling as means of performing personal identity and mapping memories. 





Benjamin Kersten (he/they) is a PhD Candidate in Art History at UCLA. His dissertation project focuses on the visual art of Yiddish culture from the 1910s to the 1930s and asks how artists gave visual language to the project of Yiddishism that imagined the Yiddish language, literature, and culture as a virtual homeland for Jews in lieu of a physical territory. He is also the Graduate Fellow at the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies. Outside of his research, he is a community organizer and youth educator.