Leila Mukhida is University Assistant Professor in Modern German in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Fellow of Trinity Hall. They also act as Deputy Director of the DAAD Research Hub for German Studies. They teach across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate papers and modules in MMLL and in the Centre for Film and Screen, specialising in German and Austrian visual culture, the Frankfurt School, sound and industrial history, as well as queer and intersectional approaches to German-language film and literature. They will spend Easter Term 2023 as an Early Career Fellow at CRASSH.
I will spend my Fellowship at CRASSH working through my methodology for a new book project about queer German cinema.
“What does queer studies have to say about empire, globalisation, neoliberalism, sovereignty, and terrorism? What does queer studies tell us about immigration, citizenship, prisons, welfare, mourning, and human rights?” David L. Eng, Jack Halberstam and José Esteban Muñoz refer here to the way in which the ‘queer studies’ that emerged in the early 90s expanded the remit of Lesbian and Gay Studies in order to account for other axes of oppression. Contributors to the now substantial body of scholarship that constitutes ‘queer studies’ practise, to varying extents and with diverse objects of study, what Kimberlé Crenshaw terms ‘intersectionality’: a hermeneutics that acknowledges the simultaneity of sexuality, race, class, gender, and other identity markers in the constitution of subjecthood.
My new research will present an intersectional account of queer German cinema that, for the first time, foregrounds films featuring protagonists of colour. It will feature experimental films in which explorations of non-normative genders and sexualities are inextricably linked to a critique of empire, race, migration and whiteness. Put differently, it will ask what queerness does, that is, how depictions of queerness on screen may be deployed to expose other forms of exclusionary politics in the Federal Republic. My time at CRASSH will be used to develop a methodological frame for thinking about queer cinema in this way, whilst heeding the limitations of the label ‘queer’ itself by attending to the contingency of the term, its state of non-fixity that Judith Butler insists is inherent to its circulation and usage.