Lecture by Giorgos Sambatakakis, on the topic "Co-history, memory, amnesia. How do we (re)write a queer history of theatre?'

On Friday, May 26, at 8:30 p.m., the Institute for Mediterranean Studies-FORTH (Melissinou 130 and Nikiforos Fokas) will host a lecture by Giorgos Sambatakakis, entitled "Co-history, memory, amnesia. How do we (re)write a queer history of the theater?" Giorgos Sambatakakis is an associate professor of Theater Studies at the Department of Theater Studies of the University of Patras. He studied Theater Studies at the Department of Theater Studies of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) and received a specialization (M.Phil.) in ancient Greek tragedy and its recruitment from the University of Cambridge (with a scholarship from the same University). He obtained a PhD in Theater Studies from the University of London with a scholarship from the Onassis Foundation and did post-doctoral research (on theater criticism in Greece) at T.Th.S. of the University of Patras (with a scholarship from the State Scholarship Foundation). He deals with theater history and theory, directing theory and criticism, and the reception of ancient drama, while in recent years he has turned his interest to queer theory.

Earlier debate about the historicization of queerness assumed that the differences between homosexuality as we "know it today" and earlier arrangements of homosexuality might be so inextricably rooted in other cultural differences that there might not be (and is not) a continuous historically and defining essence of "homosexuality" (see Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1990, 44). Subsequently, the queering of history requires a conception of “non-historicism”, which instead of (mis)following a history of the same, will invest as a homo-history “in the suspension of defined sexual and chronological differences, while expanding the possibilities of the non-heteronormative, with all the connotations of sameness, community, proximity, and anachronism” (Jonathan Goldberg and Madhavi Menon, “Queering History,” PMLA 120.5, 2005, 1609).

In this context, I will try to discuss—by no means definitively—a number of issues/questions.

  • How do we write a queer theater history today when the essentialism of homosexuality has collapsed on the ruins of the old lesbigay literary norms?
  • How do we write a queer history of theater outside the grand paradigms of gay drama?
  • Is there any permanent historical marker of queer presence in the theater?
  • Are we living in an age of amnesia of the old struggles and lamentations that "founded" us?