Transnational gender and sexuality studies; social anthropology, social theory and cultural analysis; violence, conflict and genocide; secrecy; sociality; subjectivity; transnational adoption circuits, documents and archives; ethnography; Guatemala; Latin America.
Former and current graduate students include: Lorena Fuentes, '(Re)Reading the Boundaries and Bodies of Femicide: Exploring Articulations within the Discursive Economy of Gendered Violence in ‘Post-War’ Guatemala' (co-supervised with Dr Jasmine Gideon, Oct 2012 - Feb 2016); Erol Saglam, 'Memory, Identity and Subjectivity in the Case of Romeika-speaking Communities of Trabzon, Turkey' (co-supervised with Prof Stephen Frosh, Oct 2013 - present); Matthew Martinez, 'Mathematics in and through the Arts: A Performative Transgression' (co-supervised with Dr Elizabeth Hoult, April 2015). I have also co-supervised projects on Queer Diasporas in London and related themes.
Member, American Anthropological Association - including Association of Feminist Anthropologists, Association for Queer Anthropology, Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology and Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Member, European Association of Social Anthropologists - including European Network for Queer Anthropology
Member, Association of Social Anthropologists of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth (ASA)
Member, Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS)
SLAS Elected Committee Member (2010-2012) and SLAS Website and E-Newsletter Editor (2008-2011). Please forward information on Latin American Studies events, opportunities and news to firstname.lastname@example.org
Transnational Gender and Sexuality Studies and Theories
Social Anthropology, Social Theory and Cultural Analysis
Violence, Conflict and Genocide
Anthropology of the State and the Law
Transnational Adoption Circuits, Documents and Archives
Petén, Guatemala, London.
My background is in social anthropology and gender studies. My work to date has focused on a profoundly theoretically inflected ethnographic approach to the study of relations and relational categories - notably 'gender', 'sexuality', 'secrecy', 'violence' - through research on socially, culturally and historically situated practices.
My first research monograph on histories of violence and socialities of secrecy in Petén, northern Guatemala, was published in January 2014 by Alabama University Press. Secrecy and Insurgency: Socialities and Knowledge Practices in Guatemala deals with the experiences of guerrilla combatants of the Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes (Rebel Armed Forces) in the aftermath of the Peace Accords signed in December 1996 by the Guatemalan government and guerrilla insurgents. The book focuses on 'secrecy' as both sociality and knowledge practice, and demonstrates the relevance of thinking 'gender' in the coalescence of novel objects of analysis in a broad field of contemporary theory.
I am committed to long-term, albeit intermittent, ethnographic research in Guatemala. Building on the project 'Fissured Legality and Affective States: Ethnographic Reflections on the "International Adoption" Circuits between Guatemala and the United Kingdom', funded by the Joint Initiative for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean (JISLAC) completed in 2012, as well as the subsequent project 'Governing Transnational Adoption in Postwar Guatemala: Ethnographic Reflections on Documents, Law and the State' (2012-2014), undertaken with the support of the British Academy, I am currently beginning to write a new research monograph on transnational adoption circuits and the traces and remnants of violence, conflict and genocide in Guatemala.
I am also involved in a number of research and writing collaborations. Two co-editing projects developed with Adi Kuntsman and Jin Haritaworn, were published recently. The first, Queer Necropolitics, is a collection of essays that interrogates the changes in queer politics that emerge in violent regimes of coloniality, 'War on Terror', incarceration, border enforcement and neoliberalism. The second project, ‘Murderous Inclusions: Queer Politics, Citizenship and the “Wars without End”’, makes up the special issue of the International Feminist Journal of Politics published in December 2013. Another project, a special issue of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies on 'Violence and Affective States in Latin America', co-edited with Dr Frank Smith and Dr Martin Fotta (Frankfurt), was published in 2016.The introduction to this collection can be found here.
I coordinate the AHRC-funded Decolonizing Sexualities Research Network with Suhraiya Jivraj (Kent) and Sandeep Bakshi (Le Havre); the edited volume that brings together writings generated through this research network, Decolonizing Sexualities: Transnational Perspectives, Critical Interventions, will be published in 2016. With Paul Boyce (Sussex) and Elisabeth Engebretsen (Oslo), I am currently co-editing a journal special issue specifically focused on the intersections between anthropology and queer studies, 'Anthropology's Queer Sensibilities: Ethno-theoretical Approaches to Sexual and Gender Diversity'. It will be published in the journal Sexualities in 2016. This will include an interview with Professor Esther Newton and Professor Ellen Lewin I conducted with Paul Boyce, EJ Gonzalez-Polledo, and Elisabeth Engebretsen.
2016 - 2017, Birkeck/Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF), 'Person, Substance, Bodily Capacity: Transnational Adoption and Surrogacy in Times of Violence and Crisis', (PI), £20,000.
2012-2014, Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Networking Grant, "Transnational Network for Sexuality, Race and Religion Researchers and Civil Society Actors", Co-Investigator. Principal Investigator, Dr Suhraiya Jivraj, Kent Law School, University of Kent, £28,455.
2012-2014, British Academy Small Grant, "Governing Transnational Adoption in Postwar Guatemala: Ethnographic Reflections on Documents, Law and the State", £6,900.
2008, Joint Initiative for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean Research Grant, "Fissured Legality and Affective States: Ethnographic Reflections on the 'International Adoption' Circuits between Guatemala and the United Kingdom", £ 4,000.
2007, British Academy Small Research Grant, "Performativities: Contexts, Domains, Perspectives?, £2,054, (with Sadie Wearing).
Presentations, workshops and conferences
'Fragment, Scale, Form: Figuring Genocide', 'Transections: Image, Object, World', Panel organized by EJ Gonzalez-Polledo, Paul Boyce, Elisabeth Engebretsen and Silvia Posocco, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, 16-20 November 2016.
'Queer Necropolitics: Everyday Death Worlds and Shifting Domains of Struggle', Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, California State University Northridge, 19 September 2016.
'Traces, Remnants, Genocide: Transnational Adoption in Guatemala in the 1980s’, Conference on Genocide and Resistance in Guatemala, University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Centre for Advanced Genocide Studies, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 12 -14 September 2016.
'Fragments', panel on 'Feminist Activism, Feminist Theory: STS and Social Justice', convened by Rachel Ceasar (Wits), 4S/EASST Conference, Barcelona, 31 August - 3 September 2016.
‘Toque de Queda: Violence, Affect and Historical Memory in Three Films of Casa Comal, Guatemala’, panel on 'Resisting Erasure: Historical Memory and Cultural Production in Postwar Central America' convened by Rita Palacios (Concordia), Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Annual Conference, New York City, 27 – 30 May 2016.
Roundtable participant, ‘Intimacy and Epistemology: Reproducing Latin American Studies’, convened by Kevin Gould (Concordia) and Patricia Martin (Montreal), Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Annual Conference, New York City, 27 – 30 May 2016.
'Queering Anthropological Knowledge: Analytics, Devices and Investments After Marilyn Strathern', Panel convened with Paul Boyce (Sussex) and EJ Gonzalez-Polledo (LSE), Queory Seminar Series, Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence, University of Sussex, 22 February 2016.
‘Post-plurality: Re-thinking Scale, Relation and Perspective in Queer Anthropology’, Queering Anthropological Knowledge: Analytics, Devices and Investments After Marilyn Strathern Panel, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Denver, 18-22 November 2005.
'Queering Anthropological Knowledge: Analytics, Devices and Investments After Marilyn Strathern', Panel convened with Paul Boyce (Sussex) and EJ Gonzalez-Polledo (LSE), American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Denver, 18-22 November 2005.
Anthropology, Psychoanalysis and Psychosocial Studies, A Colloquium in Two Parts, Birkbeck, University of London, 26 June 2015 and 7 October 2015. For more information, please click here.
'The Ends of Affect: Deferred Reflections from the Field', Institute for Gender Studies, University of Oxford, 4 June 2015.
Adoption Matters, event sponsored by Birkbeck Gender and Sexuality and the Raphael Samuel History Centre, Birkbeck, 13 May 2015.
'Queer Necropolitics: Everyday Death Worlds and Shifting Domains of Struggle', Research Seminar, Centre for Gender Studies, University of Sussex, 24 February 2015.
'The Ends of Affect: Deferred Reflections from the Field', Keynote address, 2nd Critical Social Psychology Conference on Affect, Embodiment and Politics, 11-13 February 2015, Barcelona.
Queer Theory and Geopolitics Panel, Radical Philosophy Conference, House of World Culture, 16-17 January, Berlin.
‘De/kinning, Dis/placement, Temporality: Missionaries and Transnational Adoption in Guatemala’, ‘Displaced Childhoods’, Panel organized by Dr Nayanika Mookherjee (Durham University), American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, 3-7 December 2014, Washington DC.
Convener, 'Anthropology’s Queer Sensibilities: Ethno-theoretical Approaches to Sexual and Gender Diversity' Panel, convened with Paul Boyce (Sussex), American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, 3-7 December 2014, Washington DC.
'Abduction, Rescue, Genocide: Shifting Necropolitical Imaginings of Racialized Violence and Conflict in Guatemala', Reckoning with Race, Nation and (Counter)revolution in Guatemala and Southern Mexico, Panel organized by Kevin Gould (Concordia University) and Patricia Martin (University of Montreal), 21-24 May, Latin American Studies Conference, Chicago, sponsored by the Ethnicity, Race and Indigenous Peoples Section of LASA.
'Transnational Affects', AHRC International Symposium, organized by Carolyn Pedwell (Newcastle and Queen Mary), Co-hosted by the Centre for the History f Emotions at Queen Mary and The Gender Research Group at Newcastle University, London, 21 May.
'Spoken Into Presence: Differential Materialization, Embodiment and Subjectification in the Sepur Zarco Hearings, Guatemala', Bodying Forth in Law, Panel convened by Sameena Mulla (Marquette University) and Sidharthan Maunaguru (Edinburgh), American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, 20-24 November, Chicago.
‘The Problem of Context: Scale, Relation and Perspective in Queer Studies', Queering Regions Research Symposium organised by Cuneyt Cakirlar and Hongwei Bao, Nottingham Trent University, 7 February 2013.
'Performative Analogies, Technologies of Enfleshment: Transnational Adoption and/as Migration in Guatemala', Bodies of Circulation: Juxtaposing Migration and Adoption, Panel convened by Jessaca Leinaweaver (Brown University) and Sonja van Wichelen (University of Western Sydney), American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, 14-18 November 2012.
'Queer Necropolis: Rethinking Global Urbanism through Transnational Adoption in Guatemala City', World, City, Queer: the Sexual Politics of Global Urbanism, International Workshop convened by Natalie Oswin, Department of Geography, McGill University, Montreal, 7 - 8 September 2012 (invited).
'An Introduction to a Concept Metaphor', Homonationalisms: Patters of Self-determination and Assimilation, Panel organised by Tiziana Mancinelli and Sergio Rigoletto, Transnational Italy: National Identity and the World Atlas Conference, Reading University, 13-14 July 2012.
'Irregularities, Search and Identities' Panel, Growing Up and Coming of Age as an Adopteed in Spain AFIN Workshop, Instituto Universitario de la Familia, Universidad de Comillas, Madrid, 5 July 2012 (invited).
'Rethinking Structural Violence in Latin America and Beyond', SLAS Annual Conference, Sheffield, 18-20 April 2012.
Contested Mobility: People, Commodities and Policies across Latin America and the Caribbean, NALACS Annual Conference, Leiden, 13-14 October.
Contours of Development: New Research on Migration, Politics and Policy between the Americas and Europe, Joint Initiative for the Study of the Americas and the Caribbean Funded Conference, London, 25 February 2011 (invited).
'Secrecy and Insurgency: Socialities and Knowledge Practices in Peten, Guatemala', Panel on 'The Circulation of Secrets: Ethnography, Publics and the Politics of Knowledge', convened by Lindsay Smith, Lilith Mahmud and Noah Tamarkin, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 17-21 November 2010.
'Murderous Inclusions: The Queer Necropolitics of Citizenship and the Wars without End’, Panel co-convened with Adi Kuntsman and Jin Haritaworn, Dissident Citizenship: Queer Postcolonial Belonging, University of Sussex, 10-11 June 2010 and Beyond Citizenship: Feminism and the Transformation of Belonging International Conference, Birkbeck, 30 June - 2 July 2010.
'Fissured legality and affective states in the transnational adoption archives in Guatemala’, Seminar in Anthropological Theory, Anthropology Department, London School of Economics, 5 March 2010 and Department of Psychosocial Studies Research Seminar, Birkbeck, 26 April 2010.
‘Expedientes: fissured legality and affective states in the transnational adoption archives in Guatemala’, panel on ‘The life of documents: new beginnings, new ends’ convened by Christopher Kaplonski and Catherine Trundle, American Anthropological Association International Conference, Philadelphia, 2 - 6 December 2009.
Chair, panel on ‘Queer Necropolitics: Lives, Deaths and the Ends of Queer Anthropology’ convened by Adi Kuntsman, American Anthropological Association International Conference, Philadelphia, December 2009.
‘Witnessing Águila’s Death: Archive, Testimony, Periperformativity’, Anthropology in London: Current Research 2009, One-Day Conference, London, 15 June 2009.
‘Witnessing Águila’s Death: Notes on Ethnography in the Aftermath of Insurgency’, Second Workshop on Ethnographies of Activism, convened by Henrike Donner and Sharad Chari, London 9 May 2009.
‘The Impersonal as Queer Horizon’, Discussant, ‘Violence, Solidarity, Affect: A Workshop on Transnational Genders and Sexualities’ Workshop convened by Jin Haritaworn, London, 8 May 2009.
“Conjuring Up”: Strathernograms Revisited’, Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth International Conference, Anthropological Relationships as Appropriations and Investments, Auckland, December 2008.
‘Performativities: Contexts, Domains, Perspectives’ International Workshop, co-organized with Sadie Wearing, 3 November 2007. This event was a key component of our ongoing research project seeking to track and analyse the multiple and complex permutations of theories of performativity across domains of knowledge in the humanities and social sciences, through, inter alia, multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinary dialogues with scholars in fields as diverse as theoretical physics, social studies of finance, cultural studies, social anthropology, gender studies and queer theory. Invited speakers at the one-day workshop included Karen Barad, University of California Santa Cruz; Judith Butler, University of California Berkeley; Shoshana Felman, Emory University; Donald Mackenzie, University of Edinburgh; Diane Negra, University of East Anglia; Carolyn Pedwell, London School of Economics; Kalpana Ram, Macquarie University Sydney; Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, City University of New York; Susan Squier, Pennsylvania State University; Shirley Anne Tate, University of Leeds. The event was generously funded by the British Academy, the Sociology Department Research Fund and the Roberts Researcher Development Fund.
‘A Merography of Zones and Borders: Thinking Divisions as Relations in Petén, Guatemala’, Walls: Critical Legal Studies Conference, Birkbeck College, University of London, September 2007.
‘Re-zoning: nature, culture and politics in and around the Maya Biosphere, Petén, Guatemala’, Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth Annual Conference, Cosmopolitanism and Anthropology, Environmental Cosmopolitans Panel, Keele University, UK, 2006.
‘Globalisation, Governmentality and Failure through the Prism of Petén, Guatemala‘, Royal Geographical Society International Conference, Panel on ‘Globalising Failures’, London, UK, 2006.
2002 - 2005
'Gubernamentalidad y Modernidad Vernácula en Petén, Guatemala’, [Governmentality and Vernacular Modernity in Petén, Guatemala], International Conference on Sustainable Development, Environmental Governance, Santa Elena, Petén, Guatemala, 2005.
'"The primordial basis of man is that he be secret”: secrecy and ambivalence in post-civil conflict Petén, Guatemala’, Perspectives on Conflict Conference, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 2002.
Bakshi, Sandeep, Jivraj, Suhraiya and Posocco, Silvia (Eds) (forthcoming, 2016) Decolonizing Sexualities: Transnational Perspectives and Critical Interventions, Oxford: CounterPress. A collection of writings by members of the Decolonizing Sexualities Network.
Haritaworn, Jin, Kuntsman, Adi and Posocco, Silvia (Eds) (2014) Queer Necropolitics, London: Routledge. The volume will be available in paperback in February 2015.
Posocco, Silvia and Diane Perrons (Eds) (2009) ‘Globalising Failures’, Geoforum Special Issue, Vol. 40(2), ISSN 0016-7185.
Journal articles (refereed) and book chapters
Boyce, Paul, Engebretsen,Elisabeth, Gonzalez-Polledo, EJ and Posocco, Silvia (2018) 'A Commitment to Difference: An Interview with Esther Newton', Sexualities, Vol. 21(1).
Boyce, Paul, Engrebretsen, Elisabeth and Posocco, Silvia (2018) 'Introduction: Anthropology's Queer Sensibility', Sexualities, Vol. 21(1).
Sandeep Bakshi, Suhraiya Jivraj and Silvia Posocco, 'Introduction', in Bakshi, Sandeep, Jivraj, Suhraiya and Posocco, Silvia (Eds) (forthcoming, September 2016) Decolonizing Sexualities: Transnational Perspectives and Critical Interventions, Oxford: CounterPress.
Posocco, Silvia (forthcoming, 2016) '(Decolonizing) The Ear of the Other: Subjectivity, Ethics and Politics in Question', in Bakshi, Sandeep, Jivraj, Suhraiya and Posocco, Silvia (Eds) (forthcoming, September 2016) Decolonizing Sexualities: Transnational Perspectives and Critical Interventions, Oxford: CounterPress.
Posocco, Silvia (2011) ‘Female Masculinity’, Entry Revised and Updated, in George Ritzer and Michael Ryan, (Eds) Concise Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, Oxford: Blackwell, ISBN 978-1-4051-8532-9.
Posocco, Silvia (2008) Review and comment, Povinelli, Elizabeth (2006) The Empire of Love: Toward a Theory of Intimacy, Genealogy, and Carnality, Special Issue on ‘Racism in the Closet: Interrogating Postcolonial Sexuality’, Ben Pitcher and Henriette Gunkel (Eds), Darkmatter: In the Ruins of Imperial Cultureelectronic journal, Issue 3, May 2008.
Posocco, Silvia (2007) ‘Female Masculinity’, in George Ritzer, (Ed.), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, Oxford: Blackwell, Volume IV: 1657-8, ISBN 1405124331.
Posocco, Silvia (2004) ‘Butch’, ‘Stone Butch’, ‘Butch/Femme’, ‘Female Masculinity’, ‘Passing’, ‘Packing’, in Jo Eadie (Ed.),Sexuality: The Essential Glossary, London: Hodder Arnold, pp. 22-4; 67-8; 149; 152-3, ISBN 9780340806753.