Call for Abstracts | Sexuality, Security and Surveillance in Digital Spaces

Matt Buck (CC BY-SA 2.0)

*Sexuality, Security and Surveillance in Digital Spaces* (CfA – session)

5th Geographies of Sexualities Conference

Prague, September 26th – 28th, 2019

Call for abstracts – for this independently organized session

Session organizers: Yossi David, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz; Godfried Asante, Drake University. More information here:

* Session abstract *

Networked platforms have become fully integrated in almost every aspect of everyday life in the digital age. In particular, notions of digital activism through digital mobilization have become deeply intertwined in civil society groups, non-profit and LGBTIQ+ organizations. These platforms are used, particularly, by marginalized groups to make visible various human rights abuses and also create safe spaces outside of, but in relation to the daily varied forms of hetero/homonormativities. Conversely, state officials and moral entrepreneurs are continuously stretching their communications to networked platforms in order to voice their discontent with emerging voices against “traditional” and nativist’s discourses. Their tactics involves state funded surveillance of marginalized virtual communities and individual social media accounts. Nonetheless, the nation-state is a heterogeneous actor and in this global neoliberal times, the relationship between the nation-state and “sexual dissidents” is increasingly becoming more complex. As such, this panel aims to upend and make visible, the various forms of state regulation and surveillance ranging from the commodification of sexual difference to the forms of queer modes of being, relating and belonging that have emerged to resist, transform and subvert such regulatory regimes, especially in non-western contexts (middle-east, Africa, Asia, south and central America). While the focus of this panel is on non-western contexts, we are also aware that the boundaries between the west and the non-west is malleable and sometimes blurred as bodies migrate or seek refuge in other nations, thereby creating a complex system of transnational regulatory regimes and surveillance.

This panel focuses on aspects of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc.) by elucidating, analyzing and examining the blurred boundaries of safety and security in digital spaces by incorporating analysis of opportunities and challenges associated with sexuality, security and surveillance in digital spaces. Each essay investigates different aspects of security and safety, and how its complexities manifest in social media platforms. The essays will also explore the construction of social, digital and physical borderlands through candid and nuanced narratives that are both distinctively personal and contextually diverse. We thereby, focus on non-western contexts in order to contribute to the theoretical discussion concerning digital spaces and its implications on civil societies in places where the local and global tend to have uneasy tensions. 

This session will explore the role of sexuality, security and surveillance in digital spaces in various scales, contexts, places and spaces. 

We seek submissions that critically investigate, but are not limited to:

  • Paradoxes in the practice or discourses around sexuality, security and surveillance in digital spaces.
  • The politics of sexuality, security and surveillance in digital spaces
  • The boundary work and policing work around sexuality, security and surveillance in digital spaces
  • The ways in which sexuality, security and surveillance is framed, produced and negotiated within social movements and grassroots (digital) activism groups.
  • Bisexual and transgender identities and security and surveillance in digital spaces
  • Intersections of race, gender, class, ability, sexuality, body and nation, and its relation to security and surveillance in digital spaces.
  • Sexuality, security and surveillance in digital spaces and disability.
  • Sexuality, security and surveillance in digital spaces and the diaspora.
  • Transnational coalitional possibilities under surveillance and security 

Please submit abstracts (250 words maximum) to by April 10, 2019. Questions or comments about the session are also welcomed.