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UCR Conference on Queer and Trans Studies in Religion


UCR Conference on Queer and Trans Studies in Religion

Queering the Academic Conference since 2019

UCR-QTSR VI – February 16-18, 2024

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Hotel Information

Mission Inn: Downtown, not rolling/strolling distance from the conference but rolling/strolling distance from local queer-owned coffee shop Back to the Grind and club The Menagerie. $169 + tax/night for any nights between 2/16 and 2/19 (that is, checking out on 2/19), self-parking is $20, internet is free. 

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Courtyard by Marriott Riverside/Moreno Valley: Rolling/strolling distance from the conference but not from downtown, in a heavily student-oriented area of Riverside with lots of less expensive food. $159 + tax/night for any nights between 2/16 and 2/18 (that is, checking out on 2/18), parking and internet should be free.

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Keynote Speakers

Krystal Nandini Ghisyawan
Krystal Nandini Ghisyawan, PhD

Born and raised in Trinidad, Krystal is an Indo-Trinidadian queer scholar, activist, educator and artist. Her research and writing have documented Indo-Trinidadian cultural forms, like pachraat folk songs; critiqued cultural practices like ritual purity, specifically the religious purdah of menstruating women; and detailed the identity politics, personal resilience and collective space-making practices of Trinidadian same-sex loving women.

In her monograph Erotic Cartographies: Decolonization and the Queer Caribbean Imagination (Jan 2022), she highlights the ways in which same-sex loving women embody their sexual identities to challenge normative (colonial) notions of Caribbean femininity, space, culture, and family as defined through colonial discourse and enactments of power. Erotic Cartographies refers to the processes of mapping territories of self-knowing and self-expression, both cognitively in the imagination and on paper during a subjective mapping exercise, exploring how meaning is given to space, and how it is transformed.

Krystal graduated Summa Cum Laude from York University with a Double Honours B.A. in Anthropology and South Asian Studies. She then pursued an MPhil/PhD in Sociology at UWI, St Augustine, graduating with distinction in 2016. She went on to Rutgers Advanced Institute for Critical Caribbean Studies in 2016-2017, as the postdoctoral associate.

Dr. Ghisyawan has been involved with the Silver Lining Foundation in Trinidad and Tobago and is currently their Director of Research. The group's pioneering nationwide school climate study gathered data on bullying in secondary schools across T&T and established the need for comprehensive sex and sexuality education, and restorative justice practices that would interrupt students' urge to engage in violence, without disrupting their opportunities to learn. The report on their second such study is now publicly available on the Foundation’s website. Krystal is the primary author of the survey reports, as well as the guides and manuals for SLF’s Teacher Training program, focusing on conflict resolution and managing diverse classrooms. 

She currently runs a successful consultancy as a developmental and content editor, based in Lawrenceville GA. 

Samar Habib
Samar Habib

Samar Habib is a writer, researcher and scholar of international standing.  She is widely known for numerous books, articles and encyclopedia entries, as well as public lectures on gender and sexuality in the Arab world.  Some publishers of her academic works include E.J. Brill, Oxford University Press and Routledge. She has given invited lectures at some of the best universities in the world, including Yale, Brown, Stanford and Columbia. 

Dr. Habib is also a filmmaker.  Her documentary, Homeless in Berkland, aired on Berkley’s Comcast Channel 31 in December 2017. She was Executive Producer for two queer Arab short films: Finjan (2020) and Dress Up (2022).  On the literary side, Dr. Habib has written three novels, A Tree Like Rain (2005), Rughum & Najda (2012), and The Greatest Story Every Written, which is still looking for a publisher.

In addition to her contributions to gender and sexuality studies, and social justice issues, Dr. Habib is seasoned in quantitative research methodologies, leveraging data science to understand and solve business and social problems. She has led impact evaluations of national and international programs, designed and executed mixed methods studies of markets and industries, and advised for-profit and non-profit organizations on strategy and organizational knowledge management.

She lives in California with three very cheerful and very low-maintenance plants.