A person with short hair and glasses speaking into a microphone. Their left hand is holding the microphone and their right hand is up in the air gesturing.
Eric A. Stanley, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, will discuss their latest book, “Atmospheres of Violence: Structuring Antagonism and the Trans/Queer Ungovernable” during a visit to VCU. (Photo by Alex Woodward)

Second annual Q Symposium will feature visit from artist, author and director Eric A. Stanley

The symposium, which will focus on the topic of “Policing Bodies” this year, is a week of events hosted by VCU’s Queer Research and Advocacy Center.

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The Queer Research and Advocacy Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, or Q Collective, will celebrate its second Q Symposium this month, culminating in a keynote event that will kick off a visit from this year’s scholar-in-residence, Eric A. Stanley, Ph.D., from University of California, Berkeley. The topic of this year’s symposium, “Policing Bodies,” will inform a series of presentations by VCU faculty, undergraduate and graduate students. The events will take place across campus from March 28-31.

“‘Policing bodies’ is an urgent call for political solidarity, especially as the ongoing war against reproductive and gender affirmative care intensifies,” said Stanley, an associate professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at UC Berkeley. Stanley’s work explores radical queer/trans movements, prison abolition and anarcha-feminism. “Perhaps nowhere is this brutal attack more felt than by trans/queer people that are held captive in jails, prisons, psych jails and ICE detention centers.”

A Richmond native, Stanley lived in the city for the first 14 years of their life. Richmond has since become rich ground for conversations about both gentrification and social and political activism, and Stanley is excited to return and further explore the city’s dichotomies.

“I'm really looking forward to learning from the brilliance of local organizers and scholars both at VCU and beyond,” Stanley said. “That is always the best part for me, seeing the ways people are engaging in their local context and building the worlds they want and need in the ashes of the old.”

Stanley will discuss their latest book, “Atmospheres of Violence: Structuring Antagonism and the Trans/Queer Ungovernable,” at the symposium’s keynote event on March 29, 4 p.m. at the University Student Commons Theater. The book explores the ways racialized anti-trans/queer violence is foundational to western modernity. The rest of their visit will include a student mixer, a film screening of “Criminal Queers,” co-directed by Stanley, and the Burnside Watstein Awards Ceremony, an annual event that recognizes individuals who enrich the sense of community at VCU and make a significant difference in the lives of LGBTQIA faculty, staff and students.

“We're incredibly excited to welcome Dr. Stanley back to Richmond and to have the opportunity for VCU and our broader community to engage in discourse around the seemingly intractable issues around the control of bodies in a free, democratic society,” said Kevin Allison, Ph.D., interim director of the Q Collective. “Our ability to understand and address the exercise of policing and control of individuals and communities based on gender, sex and color is both critical and timely.”

A complete schedule of events is available on the Q Collective’s webpage. All events are free to attend, but registration is appreciated.