Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times

Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times

Paperback Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies

By (author) Jasbir K. Puar

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  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 231mm x 23mm | 431g
  • Publication date: 30 November 2007
  • Publication City/Country: North Carolina
  • ISBN 10: 082234114X
  • ISBN 13: 9780822341147
  • Sales rank: 80,978

Product description

In this path-breaking work, Jasbir K. Puar argues that configurations of sexuality, race, gender, nation, class, and ethnicity are realigning in relation to contemporary forces of securitization, counterterrorism, and nationalism. She examines how liberal politics serves to incorporate certain queer subjects into the fold of the nation-state, through developments including the legal recognition inherent in the overturning of anti-sodomy laws and the proliferation of more mainstream representation. These incorporations have shifted queers from their construction as figures of death (the AIDS epidemic) to subjects tied to ideas of life and productivity (gay marriage and reproductive kinship). Puar contends, however, that this tenuous inclusion of some queer subjects depends on the production of populations of Orientalized terrorist bodies. Heteronormative ideologies that the U.S. nation-state has long relied on are now accompanied by homonormative ideologies replicating narrow racial, class, gender, and national ideals. These "homonationalisms" are deployed to distinguish upright "properly hetero," and now "properly homo," U.S. patriots from perversely sexualized and racialized terrorist look-a-likes - especially Sikhs, Muslims, and Arabs - who are cordoned off for detention and deportation. Puar combines transnational feminist and queer theory, Foucauldian biopolitics, Deleuzian philosophy, and technoscience criticism, and draws from an extraordinary range of sources, including governmental texts, legal decisions, films, television, ethnographic data, queer media, and activist organizing materials and manifestos. Looking at various cultural events and phenomena, she highlights troublesome links between terrorism and sexuality: in feminist and queer responses to the Abu Ghraib photographs, in the triumphal responses to the Supreme Court's Lawrence decision repealing anti-sodomy laws, in the measures Sikh Americans and South Asian diasporic queers take to avoid being profiled as terrorists, and in what Puar argues is a growing Islamophobia within global queer organizing.

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Author information

Jasbir K. Puar is Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University.

Review quote

"By articulating terrorism, patriotism, and U.S. exceptionalism not only to race but also to homophobia, heteronormativity, and queerness, Terrorist Assemblages offers a trenchant critique of contemporary bio- as well as geopolitics. As an author on a hotly debated topic, Jasbir K. Puar is as gracious about acknowledging other authors' contributions as she is unyielding in her interrogations of secular-liberalist epistemic conventions. This is a smart, admirably researched, and courageous book."--Rey Chow, author of Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films: Attachment in the Age of Global Visibility "I could not stop reading this outraged, meticulous, passionate, and brilliantly-visioned book. Jasbir K. Puar's analysis of the neoliberal, imperial, sexual, and racist present reaches into the U.S. Academy and multiple transnational publics and is critical of them all, even when she has solidarity with them. It's been a long time since I read something so smart and so thorough in its storytelling."--Lauren Berlant, author of The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship "In this powerful book, Jasbir K. Puar offers a stunning critique of 'homonational' politics. She rethinks intersections as assemblages, as networks of affect, intensity, and movement. The very rigor of her critique suggests an unflinching optimism about what is possible for queer politics."--Sara Ahmed, author of Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others

Back cover copy

"In this powerful book, Jasbir K. Puar offers a stunning critique of 'homonational' politics. She rethinks intersections as assemblages, as networks of affect, intensity, and movement. The very rigor of her critique suggests an unflinching optimism about what is possible for queer politics."--Sara Ahmed, author of "Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others"