The Music, Language, and Culture Workshop

Gender and Sexuality Studies Workshop and Ethnoise!


Join the Gender and Sexuality Studies Workshop and Ethnoise!

on Tuesday, February 1st from 4:30-6:00pm:

Luis-Manuel Garcia

Department of Music University of Chicago

and Gregory Mitchell Department of Performance Studies Northwestern University

Sex On Several Levels: Accounting for Affect in Queer Heterotopias in Rio de Janeiro and Berlin

This paper examines the importance of affect in understanding Foucault’s underdeveloped concept of heterotopias, or mixed-use spaces in which contradictory activities take place that enact a contested or inverted version of utopian social spaces. Heterotopias reflect and reveal actual lived society with all its flaws and foibles, but they are also scenes of encounter and contestation that bring together relational forms not normally permitted to coexist. Our interest here lies in the sexual dimension of certain heterotopic spaces. We propose that layers of affect in sexual heterotopias accrue in such a way that they intimately bind architecture to bodies as we attempt to navigate them, and that they form not only residues that influence relations within them but also contact zones of affective flows that manage the disparateness of the activities that share these spaces. Consequently, any study of affect in heterotopias should begin to account for the ways in which architecture shapes bodies and desires. By combining two ethnographic case studies (i.e., of a male brothel in Rio de Janeiro and a nightclub in Berlin) we conclude that such spaces are necessary in order for hegemonic spaces of sexuality to exist elsewhere and so are complicit in maintaining normative sexuality, but that they also provide useful models for scholars to understand how sexuality and affects interact with built-environments and, in particular, architectures of masculinity. Download the paper here: All are welcome. Light refreshments will be served.

The workshop will take place in the first floor conference room of the Center for Gender Studies, 5733 S. University Avenue. If you have any questions or need special assistance, please contact Erin Moore at

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