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Homonationalism’s Viral Travels  

Hana Masri

First defined by Jasbir Puar in 2007, homonationalism refers to the collusion between LGBTQ subjects or rights discourses and nationalism. This definition contrasts with previous transnational queer and feminist analyses. Homonationalism instead describes a form of national homonormativity and sexual exceptionalism in which some LGBTQ subjects are complicit with, rather than excluded from, nationalism and imperialism. This recognition and incorporation into the nation is predicated on the nation’s production and disposal of populations of racial and sexual others, particularly through Orientalist constructions of undesirable Muslim and Arab sexualities and genders. The literature on homonationalism thus explains how certain queer and trans subjectivities are mobilized in service of modernity’s racial, capitalist, imperial, and colonial projects, such as the U.S. “War on Terror.” In addition to this original definition, the framework of homonationalism has been expanded to refer to the way LGBTQ rights have become a barometer by which to evaluate nations’ and populations’ right to sovereignty at the global political scale. This includes, for example, discourses that use notions of sexually progressive multiculturalism to justify foreign intervention. Scholars and activists alike have applied the framework of homonationalism widely, to the degree that the homonationalism has been referred to as a viral concept. Much of this uptake focuses on “pinkwashing,” a manifestation of homonationalism that refers to a nation-state’s promotion of its “gay-friendly” record in order to obscure other types of political violence, including colonialism, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing. At the same time, homonationalism’s extensive uptake has led to a proliferation of perspectives that complicate, challenge, and expand the concept’s usage; though the conditions it names emerge across contexts, its instantiations vary based on historical and geopolitical context. These differences in application inform critiques of the concept, which tend to focus on the overextension and universalization of the concept at the expense of its clarity, context specificity, and utility for activism seeking to contest homonationalist policies and practices.

Article

Queering Colonialisms and Empire  

Roberta Chevrette

Scholarship engaging queer theory in tandem with the study of colonialism and empire has expanded in recent years. This interdisciplinary area of research draws from queer of color theorizing and women of color feminists who made these links during queer theory’s emergence and development in social movements and within the field of women’s and gender studies. Together, queer of color, (post)colonial, transnational feminist, and Indigenous scholars and activists have highlighted the centrality of gender and sexuality to colonial, settler colonial, and imperial processes. Among the alignments of queer and (post)colonial inquiry are their emphases on social transformation through critique and resistant praxis. In the communication discipline, scholarship queering the study of colonialism and empire has emerged in critical/cultural studies, intercultural communication, rhetoric, media studies, and performance studies. Two broad thematics defining this scholarship are (a) decolonizing queerness by identifying how queer theory, LGBTQ activism, and queer globalizations have reinforced Whiteness and empire; and (b) queering decolonization by identifying how heteropatriarchal, binary, and normative systems of sex, sexuality, and gender contribute to colonial processes of past and present.