International Relations The Queer in/of International Relations
by
Laura Sjoberg, Anna L. Weissman
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 June 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199743292-0177

Introduction

The term queer theory came into being in academia as the name of a 1990 conference hosted by Teresa de Lauretis at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a follow-up special issue of the journal differences. In that sense, queer theory is newer to the social sciences and humanities than many of the ideas that are included in this bibliographic collection (e.g., realism or liberalism), both native to International Relations (IR) and outside of it. At the same time, queer theory is newer to IR than it is to the social sciences and humanities more broadly—becoming recognizable as an approach to IR very recently. Like many other critical approaches to IR, queer theory existed and was developed outside of the discipline in intricate ways before versions of it were imported into IR. While early proponents of queer theory, including de Lauretis, Judith Butler, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Lauren Berlant, had different ideas of what was included in queer theory and what its objectives were, they agreed that it included the rejection of heterosexuality as the standard for understanding sexuality, recognizing the heterogeneity of sex and gender figurations, and the co-constitution of racialized and sexualized subjectivities. Many scholars saw these realizations as a direction not only for rethinking sexuality, and for rethinking theory itself—where “queer is by definition whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant,” as Halperin has described in Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography (Halperin 1995, cited under Queer As a Concept, p. 62). A few scholars at the time, and more now, have expressed skepticism in the face of enthusiasm about a queer theory revolution—arguing that “the appeal of ‘queer theory’ has outstripped anyone’s sense of what exactly it means” (Michael Warner, cited in Jagose’s Queer Theory: An Introduction [Jagose 1997, cited under Textbooks, p. 1]) and that the appeal of the notion of queer theory (“queer is hot”) has overshadowed any intellectual payoff it might have, as explored in the article “What Does Queer Theory Teach Us about X?” (Berlant and Warner 1995, cited under Queer As a Concept). Were this bibliography attempting to capture the history and controversies of queer theory generally, it would be outdated and repetitive. Instead, it focuses on the ways that queer theory has been imported into, and engaged with, in disciplinary IR—looking, along the way, to provide enough information from queer theory generally to make the origins and intellectual foundations of “queer IR” intelligible. In IR, the recognition of queer theory is relatively new, as Weber has highlighted in her article “Why Is There No Queer International Theory?” (Weber 2015, cited under From IR/Queer to Queer IR). The utilization of queer theory in IR scholarship is not new, however. Scholars like Cynthia Weber and Spike Peterson were viewing IR through queer lenses in the 1990s—but that queer theorizing was rendered discursively impossible by assemblages on mainstream/gender IR. This annotated bibliography traces (visible and invisible) contributions to “queer IR,” with links to work in queer theory that informs those moves. After discussing in some detail “queer” as a concept, this essay situates queer theorizing within both social and political theory broadly defined first by engaging aspects of queer global studies including nationalism, global citizenship, homonormativity, and the violence of inclusion, and second by examining the theoretical and empirical contributions of a body of scholarship coming to be known as “queer IR.”

General Overviews

The relative newness of queer theory to IR, the relative newness of queer theory generally, and the continued marginalization of queer theory in IR mean that “queer IR” does not have textbooks, journals, and methods texts in the same way that many other approaches to IR do. At the same time, some queer theory texts and journals have a global dimension, and some IR texts have queer dimensions. This section explores both.

Textbooks

There has yet to be an IR textbook devoted entirely to queer theory or a queer theory textbook devoted entirely to IR, but there are several textbooks that usefully engage the subject matter. Queer theorists have been interested in and textually engaged with global politics. Jagose 1997 is an example of an introduction to queer theory that takes global politics and global movements seriously. Eng, et al. 2005, an edited special issues-turned-book on what’s “queer” about “queer studies,” engages a number of issues of concern to IR (broadly defined), including political structures, economic patterns, power politics, and the movement of people. From “within” disciplinary IR, a few textbooks concerned with critical theorizing and/or gender issues include discussions of queer issues about sex, gender, and sexualities. For example, Weber 2013 engages queer theorizing in global politics. The fourth edition of Peterson and Runyan 2013 (originally published in 1992), a canonical text on global gender issues, critically engages the power relations between sexuality, class, and nation in the security and political economy spheres of global politics. Sjoberg 2014, a textbook on gender and war, shows students the necessity of thinking about the queer to understand relationships between gender and war, and the necessity of thinking about relationships between gender and war to fully understanding either gender or war.

  • Eng, David L., Judith Halberstam, and Jose Esteban Munoz, eds. What’s Queer about Queer Studies Now? Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005.

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    Originating in the special double issue of Social Text journal, this work assesses queer studies as it has developed through the late 20th century. Contributors map out contemporary issues and politics of belonging, maintaining the continued political relevance of queer studies, and apply queer theory to broad social concerns of race, immigration, neoliberalism, citizenship, globalization, and empire.

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  • Jagose, Annamarie. Queer Theory: An Introduction. New York: NYU Press, 1997.

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    In this comprehensive introduction to queer theory and its history, Jagose includes the homophile movement, gay liberation, the women’s movement, and lesbian feminism. She introduces queer theory’s challenges and the rethinking of essentialist notions, including conceptions of fixed gender and sexual identities, drawing on Butler and Halperin.

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  • Peterson, V. Spike, and Anne Sisson Runyan. Global Gender Issues in the New Millennium. 4th ed. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2013.

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    Authors provide a comprehensive introduction to feminist IR theorizing through the application of an intersectional gender lens sensitive to sexuality, class, race, ethnicity, and nationality. They examine the “sexualization” and “racialization” of the Eurocentric foundation and focus of IR, and the implications of gender and global governance, security, and international political economy.

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  • Sjoberg, Laura. Gender, War, and Conflict. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2014.

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    Sjoberg uncovers the centrality of gender in the narratives of war and analyzes the gendered processes of war through the examination of masculinities and femininities. She argues that these gender norms and perceptions are especially apparent when disrupted by trans* and genderqueer actors, bodies, and phenomena, which are perceived as dangerous.

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  • Weber, Cynthia. International Relations Theory: A Critical Introduction. 4th ed. Milton Park, UK: Routledge, 2013.

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    A comprehensive introduction to IR that familiarizes readers with the “mythologies” of the different schools of IR, with timely issues of modernization, globalization, and environmentalism, using examples from popular films. This work also provides an introduction to concepts of gender and gender analysis, including feminism in IR, masculinity, and queer theorizing.

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Journals

A number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), queer, gender studies, and critical theory journals have engaged queer global studies generally and queer IR specifically; a few IR journals (cited in the substantive sections of this bibliography) have published one or two articles that have engaged queer concerns in very serious ways (including International Studies Quarterly, the European Journal of International Relations, and International Political Sociology). This section focuses, though, on journals that have published a critical mass of work that is of concern to queer IR/queer global studies. differences published the special issue widely credited with the establishment of a field of inquiry named queer theory in the humanities and social sciences. If differences played a key role in introducing queer work broadly, the International Feminist Journal of Politics (IFjP) has played a key role in introducing queer work to IR. In June of 2013, the journal hosted a conference on (Im)possibly Queer International Feminisms at the University of Sussex, which included more than 200 attendees discussing different axes of queer global politics. IFjP also published a special issue on “Murderous Inclusions” on the violences of neoliberal inclusiveness of LGBT persons and concerns. While few other IR journals have published a critical mass of queer work, a number of interdisciplinary journals, like GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Sexualities, the Journal of Homosexuality, Alternatives, and Sexuality and Culture routinely publish queer global studies work, including research on the workings of sexuality politics in a number of substantive areas and diverse locations around the world.

Method

Two main methodological issues come up in thinking about the pairing of queer theory and the study of global politics: what are the methods by which queer research is done, and how does an interest in the queer inform the methods by which IR research is done? Browne and Nash 2010 engages the first question, and Weber 1998 speaks to the second—both in terms of the ways that queer theorizing could/should inform IR methodology and in terms of how to (and how not to) do queer IR.

  • Browne, Kath, and Catherine J. Nash. Queer Methods and Methodologies. New York: Ashgate, 2010.

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    This volume introduces and grapples with issues of queer study in social scientific research and methodology. It includes contemporary questions of method, queer quantification, class intersections, ethics, fieldwork, and ethnography.

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  • Weber, Cynthia. “What’s So Queer about IR? Or Beware of the Sexuality Variable.” Paper presented at the Millennium Conference “Gender and International Studies: Looking Forward,” London School of Economics and Political Science, 13–14 September 1998. London, UK.

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    In this text, Weber introduces queer theory to the discipline of IR, noting the correspondences both between queer theory and IR theory and between queer practice and international practice. She argues that queer theory should not be methodologically or substantively reduced to a sexuality variable. The article concludes by arguing against introducing queer into IR particularly as a “sexuality variable.”

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Queer As a Concept

De Lauretis 1991 is largely credited with the first deployment of the notion of queer theory, from within gender and LGBT studies. Many queer theorists share the common inspiration of Foucault 1979, reflecting on the relationships between subjectivities and sexualities as they circulate through discursive networks of power/knowledge/pleasure. The question of the nature, representation, and powerful deployment of sex and sexualities has been the feature of a number of key works in queer theorizing, including the combined discursive and psychoanalytic approach to those relationships in Butler 1990 and the phenomenological approach of Ahmed 2006. Sedgwick 1991 made a compelling argument for the importance of thinking about queer sexualities outside of the homosexual/heterosexual binary—a move also reflected in works like Halberstam 1998 (focused on female masculinities) and Duggan 2003 (focused on the relationships between sexualities and neoliberalisms). Berlant and Warner 1995, among others, have engaged the question of whether “queer theory” should be thought of as a paradigmatic theoretical approach or metatheory, or instead as a group of critical engagements with traditional theory.

  • Ahmed, Sara. Queer Phenomenology. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822388074Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Rich theoretical analysis that focuses on the phenomenology, embodiment, and spatiality of queerness in examining sexual “orientation”—how bodies are situated in time and space and within social relations. Ahmed also analyzes the “orientation” of phenomenology itself, through classic theorists including Fanon, Heidegger, Husserl, and Merleau-Ponty.

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  • Berlant, Lauren, and Michael Warner. “What Does Queer Theory Teach Us about X?” PMLA 110 (1995): 343–349.

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    These authors provide a different framework in which to conceptualize queer theory: the idea of queer “commentary” rather than something that can be incorporated as a single discourse or “theory.” Their aim is not to limit what can be considered queer, but rather to prevent what they consider a violent reduction of a vibrant critical culture to a narrow metatheory.

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  • Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge, 1990.

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    A highly influential work, Butler introduces the concept of gender performativity that negates an a priori ontology of being or any type of essential nature prior to iterative performance. Butler contributed to queer theorizing though her critical analysis of the social construction of biology and the gender binary, leading her to posit a fluid, never fully fixed conceptualization of gender and sexuality.

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  • de Lauretis, Teresa. “Queer Theory, Lesbian and Gay Studies: An Introduction.” Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 3.2 (1991): iii–xviii.

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    Coining “queer theory” (see Halperin 2003), de Lauretis reconsiders gay sexuality and identity in specific male and female forms. She problematizes the “constructed silences” in lesbian and gay studies, and the presumption that the “lesbian” and “gay” are equal or discernible, interrogating the very structure of lesbian and gay studies. She challenges the dominance of empiricism and introduces a problematique of multiple differences into the discourse of homosexual difference.

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  • Duggan, Lisa. The Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy. Boston: Beacon, 2003.

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    This work introduces one of the first conceptualizations of the “new homonormativity,” which replicates and supports the foundational exclusions of heteronormativity rather than challenges them. Duggan provides an exhaustive analysis of the constructions of neoliberalism and its far-reaching implications on identity, culture, and equality.

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  • Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1. Translated by Robert Hurley. London: Allen Lane, 1979.

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    The History of Sexuality is a greatly influential work on the history of sexuality, which rejects the common-sense assumption that modern sexuality is defined by its repression. Rather, Foucault argued that the proliferation of discourse about sex from the 17th century to the mid-20th—even those discourses that attempted to repress sexual practices (religion, science, psychology)—produced the very sexualized subjects they identified (e.g., “the homosexual”). He focuses putting sex into discourse, productive power, and networks of power/knowledge/pleasure. Originally published 1976.

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  • Halberstam, Judith. Female Masculinity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998.

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    First comprehensive study of female masculinity, from the 19th century to the late 20th. Halberstam calls for a more nuanced understanding of gender. This work includes analysis of foundational texts thinking about masculine female identities, the politics of butch/femme roles in lesbian communities, and the issues of transsexuality for “transgender dykes” and female-to-male transsexuals.

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  • Halperin, David M. Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

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    Halperin demonstrates how Foucault’s conception of sexuality as created by discourse (rather than a product of biology or psychology) at the intersection of knowledge and power greatly influenced gay activism and identity politics. Halperin argues that Foucault’s choice to see homosexuality discursively provided a strategic opportunity for self-transformation, and heralded in a new brand of “queer” politics.

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  • Halperin, David M. “The Normalization of Queer Theory.” Journal of Homosexuality 45.2–4 (2003): 339–343.

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    Halperin provides a critical look at the history and project of “queer,” from its initial scandalous and deliberately disruptive usage by Terera de Lauretis, to its development into “queer theory.” He considers both the benefits that queer theory has provided, but also the issues that have arisen with its institutionalization and acceptance by the academy. A short 6-page article, Halperin provides an excellent condensed introduction to the complexities of queer theory.

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  • Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

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    Considered one of the founding texts of queer studies, Sedgwick proposes a “third sex”—queer sexuality—to the limiting binary of homosexuality/heterosexuality. She questions the very nature of human sexuality and cites Western metaphysical binaries as the foundation of the creation of the homosexual identity.

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Situating Queer Theorizing

One argument made by those who engage in the enterprise of queer theorizing, either in IR or more broadly defined, is that there is something distinctive about thinking about the queer—alternatively or additionally in studying sex and gender, and/or a rejection of the normal that does not involve queer thinking. At the same time, in IR and outside of it, there are theoretical traditions that have obvious overlaps with some of the core concerns of queer theorizing, including feminist theorizing and postcolonial theorizing. This section explores how queer theoretical work is situated, both in terms of its claims about sex/gender and in terms of how it relates to feminist and postcolonial inquiry.

Rethinking Sex/Gender

One of the foundations of queer theorizing is the argument that neither sex nor gender should be assumed, either in people or in states. Fausto-Sterling 2005 critiques dualistic interpretations of sex and gender, since they do not reflect how bodies are born, or live. Usually, people are labeled male or female, and accordingly attributed masculinities and femininities. Traditionally, sexism is discrimination against women because they are women, and gender subordination is discrimination against traits associated with femininities. Queer theory as thinking adds sex and sexuality as axes of discrimination. Often, people are assumed heterosexual—and people who are not heterosexual are seen as abnormal. The term homophobic describes fearing homosexuality; the term heterosexism then describes preference for things heterosexual. The term heteronormativity describes how the straight is considered the normal, and the term homonormativity describes the ways in which figurations of LGBT lives have come to approximate (or be expected to approximate) heteronormative families, patriots, and consumers (Duggan 2003, cited under Queer As a Concept). Queer and trans* theorists have also directed attention to people who are neither/nor or both/and men and/or women (e.g., Heyes 2007). If people exist whose understanding of their sex and/or gender does not match that assigned to them at birth (trans*), or whose sex is ambiguous or nontraditional (intersex), then it affects what sex/gender is (as engaged, for example, in Stryker and Whittle 2006). People whose understandings of their sex and/or gender matches the (unambiguous) sex and/or gender assigned to them at birth are considered cisgender or cissexual, and the privileging of these organizations of sex and gender over organizations that are intersex, trans*, and/or genderqueer is understood as cissexism. Violence used to enforce cissexist orders is transphobic (see discussion in Bettcher 2007). These terms are helpful for describing sex/gender as biological and social diversity, rather than presumed-dichotomous, ordered, caging categories (see Lane 2009 for a discussion of biological diversity). Shepherd and Sjoberg 2012 applies this analysis to security studies and IR, arguing that cisprivilege plays a key role in conflict dynamics.

  • Bettcher, Talia M. “Evil Deceivers and Make-Believers: On Transphobic Violence and the Politics of Illusion.” Hypatia 22.3 (2007): 43–65.

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    Bettcher analyzes the concept of deception in transgender stereotyping and its role in promoting/excusing transphobic violence. She also looks at the relationship between gender presentation and genital actuality.

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  • Fausto-Sterling, Anne. “Bare Bones of Sex: Part I, Sex and Gender.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 30.2 (2005): 345–370.

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    Fausto-Sterling considers the dualistic theoretical conception of sex and gender to provide a reintegration of a biological yet non-universal and non-essentialist body back into feminist theory. She proposes a “life-course systems approach” to reintegrate bodies into their cultural contexts, materiality, and social construction together, without privileging one over the other.

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  • Heyes, Cressida J. Self-Transformations: Foucault, Ethics, and Normalized Bodies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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    Heyes examines the intersection between identity and the body through analysis of the “inner self” and “outer form.” She draws on Wittgenstein and Foucault to argue against this conception of normalization through three case studies—feminist readings of transgender politics, dieting, and cosmetic surgery.

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  • Lane, Riki. “Trans as Bodily Becoming: Rethinking the Biological as Diversity, Not Dichotomy.” Hypatia 24.3 (2009): 136–157.

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    Lane maintains that trans* and feminist theory recreates another impassable binary of the sex/gender system by opposing “subversive transgender” and “conservative transsexual,” and by positioning a conceptualization of authentic bodies in contradiction to what is considered constructed or fluid. She proposes a different conception of the sex/gender divide, citing new biological research.

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  • Shepherd, Laura J., and Laura Sjoberg. “Trans-Bodies in/of War(s).” Feminist Review 101 (2012): 5–23.

    DOI: 10.1057/fr.2011.53Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors introduce the concept of “cisprivilege” in IR and security studies, a vital but underanalyzed concept in gender and conflict. They also propose the invisibility of genderqueer bodies in warfare and their visibility in security policies, concluding that these are products of performative, discursive violence that should be analyzed further.

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  • Stryker, Susan, and Stephen Whittle, eds. The Transgender Studies Reader. New York: Routledge, 2006.

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    Stryker provides a comprehensive introduction to the evolution of Anglo transgender studies through selections of important figures in the field. She highlights the pre- and post-1990 shift from the psychological focus of transsexualism to the new scholarship more informed by a community activist ethos.

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Relationship with Feminism?

If feminism is understood as an intellectual and political project of emancipating women from sexism and gender subordination, and queer theorizing is understood as in part critiquing the validity of the category of “woman,” then it is understandable that there might be tensions between feminisms and queer theories. In fact, tensions between feminist activists and queer and trans* people predate the existence of queer theory: Can trans* women be women for the purpose of feminisms? What if “real” women feel threatened by trans* women? Still, some scholars and activists suggest there should be no tensions between feminist theory and versions of queer theory—since they have in common an interest in paying attention to sex, gender, and sexuality. What is sampled here is the literature that recognizes there are some ways in which queer and trans* theoretical approaches can serve as critiques and strengtheners of feminist theory. We have selected scholarship that presumes this relationship between queer theory and feminism, which has been the most influential in the production of queer global studies and queer IR scholarship. Serano 2007 suggests that trans* women can provide unique insights into the complexities of gender subordination. Heyes 2003 lays out a number of ways in which trans* theorizing can enrich feminisms by interrogating the stability of gender categories and proposes a new view of feminist solidarity taking queer theory into account. Along similar lines, Scott-Dixon 2006 presents an account of trans* feminisms, emphasizing the commonalities of the trans* and feminist projects. Bettcher and Garry 2009, while not opposed to linkages between queer theory and feminisms, notes that the queer, especially the trans*, has not always been welcome in scholarly or movement feminism. Recently, and with an eye toward international studies, Rao 2014 discusses connections and tensions between “the woman question” and “queer questions” in global politics and the study thereof.

  • Bettcher, Talia, and Ann Garry. “Introduction.” In Special Issue: Transgender Studies and Feminism: Theory, Politics, and Gendered Realities. Edited by Talia Bettcher and Ann Garry. Hypatia 24.3 (2009): 1–10.

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    Authors position trans* studies and feminism in dialogue with one another. They introduce the history of transgender studies and highlight the transphobia of some early feminist critique in the 1970s.

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  • Heyes, Cressida J. “Feminist Solidarity after Queer Theory: The Case of Transgender.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 28.4 (2003): 1093–1120.

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    Heyes argues against the opposition of “trans liberation” and “feminism,” and maintains that non-trans* feminists failed to interrogate the stableness of their gender and have construed through “free” gender expression an atomistic conception of self. She proposes that feminist transgender study should find middle ground that incorporates ethics of “self-fashioning” that integrates its limits and agency.

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  • Rao, Rahul. “Queer Questions.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16.2 (2014): 199–217.

    DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2014.901817Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Rao analyzes the connections and tensions between the Woman Question and the “Homosexual Question,” as women’s and LGBT(IQ) rights are considered indicators of Western modernity and progress. Through queer theory and the prism of human rights claims, he investigates the role of temporality in these questions and their potential shared futurity.

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  • Scott-Dixon, Krista, ed. Trans/forming Feminisms: Trans/feminist Voices Speak Out. Toronto: Sumach, 2006.

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    A collection of works which emphasize the parallel struggles of trans* and feminist projects, including topics like the essentialist/constructivist debate, issues of community and inclusion, identities of masculinities and femininities, and connections between vulnerability, cross-dressing, and women’s lived experience.

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  • Serano, Julia. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Emeryville, CA: Seal, 2007.

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    A collection of personal narratives and passionate diatribes on the issues of identity politics, the relationship of social constructivism and biological essentialism, and the role and value of femininity.

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Non-Western Ideas of the Queer

Much of the queer work in IR and in global studies has been interested in the overlay and intersection between race/racisms, nation/nationalisms, and sexualities in global politics. To that end, an important situation of queer theory in (the study of) global politics is its relationship with postcolonial and other theories interested in race and class relations. Puar 2007 makes the argument that there exists a normative raced/sexed/gendered nationalist ideology, homonationalism, which constitutes queerness in nationalistic terms. Tucker 2009 suggests that these dynamics can be seen in attempts to universalize a “gay identity” in a world where “gay” is as diverse as any other identity. In turn, Kulpa and Mizielinska 2011 discusses the ways that sexualities can be thought of differently when theorists of sexuality abandon Western-centric notions. Smith 2010 looks at another dimension of race, sex, and sexuality in global politics—arguing, in a very different context than Puar, that sexuality and race dynamics are overlaid—with attention to settler colonialisms. Agathangelou 2013 frames the raced/neoliberal global capitalist economy in terms of the construction/commodification of a homonormative queer identity which displaces racialized bodies and blackness. To that end, a number of scholars deal with situated notions of queerness. For example, Ekrine and Abbas 2013 and Epprecht 2013 deal with the complexities of African LGBTI experiences, with different perspectives. Rahman 2014 addresses issues of homosexualities in Muslim cultures. The Wilkinson and Langlois 2014 edited special issue addresses many of the ways in which dominance and sexualities interact in global politics.

  • Agathangelou, Anna M. “Neoliberal Geopolitical Order and Value.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16.4 (2013): 453–476.

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    Agathangelou intersects neoliberalism, the capitalist global economy, and racialized bodies, which she argues create a legitimate queer (white) body and identity, from which blackness is alienated and black queerness made an impossibility. Through the concept of “(homonormative) queer value” she demonstrates how the market and neoliberalism produce and commodify race, sex, and queerness.

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  • Ekrine, Sokari, and Hakima Abbas, eds. Queer African Reader. Oxford: Pambazuka, 2013.

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    An interdisciplinary reader that includes a broad collection of writings, testimonies, conversations, poetry, and other creative works by African LGBTI activists. Their work aims to highlight the diversity of African contexts, complicate the homogenized conception of African homophobia, and introduce the complexities of African LGBTI experience.

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  • Epprecht, Marc. Sexuality and Social Justice in Africa: Rethinking Homophobia and Forging Resistance. London: Zed Books, 2013.

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    Epprecht provides a comprehensive and what he calls a more optimistic look at the issues of LGBTI rights in African nations. He highlights the inroads made by recent policies and leadership, complicates oversimplified dichotomies and other stereotyping, and detangles Western “gay imperialism” and legacies of colonialism, neoliberalism, and racialized capitalism to rethink the blanket term of “African homophobia.”

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  • Kulpa, Robert, and Joanna Mizielinska, eds. De-Centering Western Sexualities: Central and Eastern European Perspectives. London: Ashgate, 2011.

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    Authors provide a non-Western perspective for the under-studied regions of Eastern and Central Europe in considering the recent shift in queer studies to the peripheries. They question the Western experience of sexuality, the normative framing of the West, and the dichotomous East/West binaries that result.

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  • Puar, Jasbir K. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822390442Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Theoretically rich, Puar applies queer theory and post-structural analysis to homonationalism—a normative, raced, and sexed national ideology. She specifically goes beyond concepts of homonormativity and the politics of visibility, bringing in geopolitical/geosocial considerations as well as conceptualizing queerness as an assemblage.

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  • Rahman, Momin. Homosexualities, Muslim Cultures, and Modernity. Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

    DOI: 10.1057/9781137002969Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Rahman provides an interdisciplinary and comprehensive look at the issues of homosexuality in Muslim cultures and the relationship between homophobia and Islamophobia, especially after 11 September 2001. Drawing on queer theory (specifically concepts of homonormativity and homonationalism), he uncovers Eurocentric conceptualizations of modernity and Western civilization in the introduction of the concept of “homocolonialism.”

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  • Smith, Andrea. “Queer Theory and Native Studies: The Heteronormativity of Settler Colonialism.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 16.1–2 (2010): 41–68.

    DOI: 10.1215/10642684-2009-012Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Smith proposes that queer theory is vital in Native studies to identify the heteronormative basis of settler colonialism and the privileging of national self-determination or ethnic rights over sexual rights. She asserts that queer theory could provide a better way forward for studies of indigenous nationhood.

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  • Tucker, Andrew. Queer Visibilities: Space, Identity, and Interaction in Cape Town. West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

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    Tucker provides a critique of Western-centric concepts of sexuality and their implications for queer visibility, liberation, and political empowerment. He intimately links queer sexuality and race, which complicates a universal “gay identity,” a Western teleological progression. Especially for a country like South Africa, he proposes that conceptions of race are imperative in understanding queer sexualities.

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  • Wilkinson, Cai, and Anthony J. Langlois. “Introduction.” In Special Issue: Not Such an International Human Rights Norm? Local Resistance to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights. Edited by Cai Wilkinson and Anthony J. Langlois. Journal of Human Rights 13.3 (2014): 249–255.

    DOI: 10.1080/14754835.2014.931218Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contributors to this special issue investigate local resistance against international norms of homonormativity. The articles introduce concepts of “homocolonialism” (Momin Rahman, pp. 274–289), examining LGBTQ rights in Muslim cultures, and “repronormativity” (Karen Zivi, pp. 290–306), examining the Western normative connections of “good” citizenship and reproduction. “Political homophobia” (Michael J. Bosia, pp. 256–273) is also analyzed, through the roles of religion, traditional values, and threat perception in Poland, Slovenia, and Russia.

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Queer Global Studies

Queer global studies work has addressed a number of phenomena traditionally of concern to scholars of IR specifically and global politics generally. It has addressed issues of statehood and nationalism, globalization and citizenship, liminality, and the violences of inclusions. This section will discuss each in turn.

Queer Theory, States, and Nationalisms

One of the oldest and most fruitful uses of queer theorizing in IR/strands of queer global theorizing is reading the relationship between queer sex/gender/sexuality and nation/nationalism. IR scholars have accounted for nationalism as heterosexist (Peterson 1999) and nations as heteropatriarchal (Peterson 2013), and looked to understand the gendered performances of state borders as well as the key role heteronormative assumptions play in the assumed settledness of state borders (Weber 1998). Scholars have inquired about the tendencies in international politics to associate the queer with monstrosity, and to label the monstrous as queer (e.g., Puar and Rai 2002, Weber 2002). From the queer global studies side, queer theorists have analyzed the symbiosis of symbols of nationality and reified notions of traditional/dichotomous sexual identity.

  • Berlant, Lauren, and Elizabeth Freeman. “Queer Nationality.” Boundary 2 19.1 (1992): 149–180.

    DOI: 10.2307/303454Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors analyze the political logic of queer nationality as it utilizes the symbols of national culture to problematize the “facts” of sexual identity, expanding the conception and application of queerness.

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  • Peterson, V. Spike. “Sexing Political Identities/Nationalisms as Heterosexism.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 1.1 (1999): 34–65.

    DOI: 10.1080/146167499360031Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Peterson exposes the foundations of nationalism as both gendered and particularly heterosexist through an analysis of Western state making, which standardizes “hetero-gender” Western metaphysical binaries and practices of power.

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  • Peterson, V. Spike. “The Intended and Unintended Queering of States/Nations.” Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 13 (2013): 57–68.

    DOI: 10.1111/sena.12021Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Peterson argues that queer theory is crucial in critiquing the institutionalization of “heteropatriarchal” relations that characterize the modern state and nation, specifically in uncovering the insidious effects of heteronormativity—structural power inequalities, identities, and ideologies that were institutionalized at the beginning of state formation and that still persist today.

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  • Puar, Jasbir K., and Amit S. Rai. “Monster, Terrorist, Fag.” Social Text 20.3 (2002): 117–148.

    DOI: 10.1215/01642472-20-3_72-117Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors analyze queer politics after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and propose the construction of a particular discourse of terrorism based on sexual deviancy and aberration of Western normality: the figure of the racialized, sexualized “terrorist-monster” (drawing from Foucault). Utilizing postcolonial theory, they analyze scripts from the West Wing television show and Sikh and South Asian nationalism.

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  • Weber, Cynthia. “Performative States.” Millennium 27.1 (1998): 77–95.

    DOI: 10.1177/03058298980270011101Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Weber links the concept of performativity (Butler) with the nation-state, proposing that nation-state subjectivity creates a sexed and gendered performative body politic. She maintains that the identity of the state does not precede its performative expression and that utilizing performative readings of the state/sovereignty can provide insight into the heterosexual context of IR and other constructed dichotomies.

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  • Weber, Cynthia. “Flying Planes Can Be Dangerous.” Millennium 31.1 (2002): 129–147.

    DOI: 10.1177/03058298020310010701Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Weber provides a queer reading of the figure of the al-Qaeda terrorist in US foreign policy discourses on the 11 September 2001 attacks. She argues—in contrast to Puar and Rai 2002, which was written around the same time—that the plurally sexed, gendered, and sexualized figure of “the terrorist” and the plural logics this figure employed at least initially confounded US foreign policy responses in “the War on Terror.”

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Globalization and Global Citizenship

Another fruitful trend in queer global studies is looking at the intersections between globalizations, citizenship, and sexualities. Povinelli and Chauncey 1999 looks at the “transnational turn” in queer studies, a trend that other works (e.g., Binnie 2004) also give attention, particularly in terms of the bidirectional relationships between homosexualities and globalizations. The collection Cruz-Malave and Manalansan 2002 focuses on LGBT analyses of globalization with a focus on sexuality and citizenship, a theme that is also featured centrally in the now-classic work The Sexual Citizen (Binnie and Bell 2000). Eng 2010 focuses on how the sexuality/citizenship nexus has recently transformed into a queer liberalism, and identifies a number of the violences associated with that move. Sabsay 2013 applies similar analysis to the recent framing of global sexual rights, critiquing the neocolonialist tendencies of rights declarations. Along similar lines, Spurlin 2013 argues that national borders are co-constituted with global sexual politics. Amar 2013 is interested in the co-constitution of sexual subjects and the human-security state. These works, individually and collectively, contend that sexuality is bound up in citizenship, and citizenship in sexuality, especially in an increasingly globalized world.

  • Amar, Paul. The Security Archipelago: Human-Security States, Sexuality, Politics, and the End of Neoliberalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822397564Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Amar introduces the emergence of the “human-security state” and “humanitarian global security regimes,” which work to reify particularly sexual, moral, and classed subjects. Through case studies in Egypt and Brazil (interestingly connecting politics of the Arab Spring and South America’s Pink Tide) and drawing from queer theory, he demonstrates how sexual minorities are targeted through the appropriation of progressive, anti-market politics.

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  • Binnie, Jon. The Globalization of Sexuality. London: SAGE, 2004.

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    Binnie provides analysis of the relationship between homosexuality and globalization, paying special attention to the intersection between the nation-state, globalization, and sexual dissidence. He analyzes issues such as queer mobility and migration, economics of queer globalization, queer postcolonialism, and sexual citizenship.

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  • Binnie, Jon, and David Bell. The Sexual Citizen: Queer Politics and Beyond. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2000.

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    A comprehensive look at the current debates on sexuality and citizenship; the authors explore the concept of sexual citizenship as it interacts with different political, legal, and social spaces of sexual politics, from marriage to the market to the military.

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  • Cruz-Malave, Arnaldo, and Martin F. Manalansan, eds. Queer Globalizations: Citizenship and the Afterlife of Colonialism. New York: NYU Press, 2002.

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    Authors propose that globalization can be seen as organically inclusive of queer identity and culture. This anthology presents postcolonial and gay/lesbian scholars who analyze the narratives that define globalization and the devices on which such global constructions depend.

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  • Eng, David L. The Feeling of Kinship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822392828Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Eng analyzes the concept of “queer liberalism,” defined as the economic, political, and cultural empowerment of certain homosexual individuals in the United States, which supposes a colorblindness. He introduces the concept of “queer diasporas,” which critiques the traditional conceptualization of diaspora, nations, and neoliberal capitalism, providing a better response to queer liberalism.

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  • Povinelli, Elizabeth A., and George Chauncey, eds. Special Issue: Thinking Sexuality Transnationally: An Introduction. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 5.4 (1999): 439–449.

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    In this issue, authors analyze the “transnational turn” in queer studies. They focus on the dynamics between sexuality and globalization, the local and the global, the intimate and the public: how the transnational affects sexual identities, movements, and queer theory, and vice versa.

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  • Sabsay, Leticia. “Queering the Politics of Global Sexual Rights?” Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 13 (2013): 80–90.

    DOI: 10.1111/sena.12019Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Sabsay critiques the neocolonial tendencies and the universalist human rights frameworks that have informed global sexual politics. She critically reflects on these approaches to “sexuality conceived as a right,” citing queer critique of mainstream LGBT politics.

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  • Spurlin, William J. “Shifting Geopolitical Borders/Shifting Sexual Borders.” Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 13 (2013): 69–79.

    DOI: 10.1111/sena.12020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Spurlin questions the simultaneous erosion and construction of national borders, both their policing and their permeability as they relate to and construct the discourse and practice of global sexual politics. Situated in postcolonial and queer studies.

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Liminality and Critiques of Homonormativity

A third theme in queer global studies/application of queer theorizing to IR is using queer theorizing to understand the rise of homonormativity (and resultant erasure of recognition of queer liminalities) in global politics. Drawing on works of queer scholarship like Duggan 2003 (cited under Queer As a Concept) and Puar 2007 (cited under Non-Western Ideas of the Queer), queer global studies scholars have argued that homonormativity has been a disciplining force in both academic and “real-world” politics (Stryker 2008), often policing both bodies and political structures (Luibheid and Cantu 2005). A number of queer theorists have proposed different approaches to speak back to homonormativity, including but not limited to breaking down gender boundaries, emphasizing relationality (Shotwell and Sangray 2009), and recognizing that failure to live up to homornormative expectations can be a space of (intellectual and political) freedom (Halberstam 2011).

  • Halberstam, Judith. The Queer Art of Failure. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822394358Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Halberstam examines orthodox heteronormative conceptions of success in a capitalist-patriarchal society, especially the cultural criticisms that claim to, but do not go beyond this framework. Halberstam proposes “low theory” as a method of thinking and an alternative, queer analysis of high and low culture, redefining subversion, the avant-garde, and queer art.

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  • Luibheid, Eithne, and Lionel Cantu Jr., eds. Queer Migrations: Sexuality, US Citizenship, and Border Crossing. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005.

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    Authors provide analysis of the immigration experience for queer immigrants of color especially in the creation and policing of borders and racialized bodies. They examine immigrant communities in Miami, San Francisco, and New York.

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  • Shotwell, Alexis, and Trevor Sangray. “Resisting Definition: Gendering through Interaction and Relational Selfhood.” Hypatia 24.3 (2009): 56–76.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2009.01045.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors propose that trans*/genderqueer individuals influence the development of gender identity of non-trans individuals. They highlight the problems of the “liberal-individualist” models of subjectivity, and instead propose a relational conception of selfhood and gender.

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  • Stryker, Susan. “Transgender History, Homonormativity, and Disciplinarity.” Radical History Review 2008.100 (Winter 2008): 145–157.

    DOI: 10.1215/01636545-2007-026Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Stryker invokes an earlier conception of “homo-normative social codes” as described by Halberstam 1998 (cited under Queer As a Concept) in recounting a history of homonormativity and transgender history as an academic discipline and activist practice.

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Murderous Inclusions/Queer Necropolitics

As Haritaworn, et al. 2014 suggests, “thinking through necropolitics on the terrain of queer critique brings into view everyday death worlds” (p. 4). Queer necropolitical analysis can focus its gaze simultaneously on the deaths of the competitions’ “losers” at the hands of the “winners” and on the necessary coexistence of killing and survival, of death and living, of the reproductively successful and the reproductive failures. In these terms, queer necropolitics “refer[s] to regimes of attribution of liveliness and deadliness to subjects, bodies, communities, and populations, and their instantiation through performances of gender, sexuality, and kinship” (Haritaworn, et al. 2014, p. 4). This work builds off of Mbembe’s extension of Foucault’s notion of biopolitics to ask what lives are killable or allowed to die, and how the neglect and/or inclusion of the queer impacts the distribution of pain, death, and attention to pain and death. This intervention reorients the goal of the theorizing (to understanding violence, injury, and death at the margins rather focusing on heteronormative reproduction of the centers of power), the processes theorized (to queer sexualities, gender diversities, and failures rather than heteronormative political organizations), and the expectations that it produces of people and of states (to fluidity rather than rigidity, diversity rather than discreteness). To this end, Gosine 2013, a Caribbean-focused exploration of the rights of men who have sex with men (MSM), Dutta 2013, an engagement with HIV-AIDS prevention in India, Lind and Keating 2013, a study of sexual justice in Ecuador, and Scott 2013, an article about same-sex marriage in South Africa, give attention to the violences of inclusion, and the victims of many on-face benevolent policies in global politics. Haritaworn, et al. 2014 brings these violences into focus with analysis of everyday death-worlds in carceral states in global politics.

  • Dutta, Aniruddha. “Legible Identities and Legitimate Citizens: The Globalization of Transgender and Subjects of HIV-AIDS Prevention in Eastern India.” In Special Issue: Murderous Inclusions. Edited by Jin Haritaworn, Adi Kuntsman, and Silvia Posocco. International Feminist Journal of Politics 15.4 (2013): 494–514.

    DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2013.818279Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Dutta examines the constructions and limitations of sexual/gender identification through the intersections among Indian feminist activism, the state, and transnational development agencies. Dutta analyzes political identities for cisgendered homosexual and transgendered individuals as related to class, caste, and gender/sexual variance.

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  • Gosine, Andil. “Murderous Men: MSM and Risk-Rights in the Caribbean.” In Special Issue: Murderous Inclusions. Edited by Jin Haritaworn, Adi Kuntsman, and Silvia Posocco. International Feminist Journal of Politics 15.4 (2013): 477–493.

    DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2013.849965Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Gosine investigates conceptualizations of the term “men who have sex with men” (MSM) in international development through two Caribbean venues—the documentary film Living in the Shadows (2011), and the Guyanese nongovernmental organization Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD). Gosine examines the ways in which privileging of Western notions of sexuality construct sexual cultures and identities to the detriment of local contexts and needs.

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  • Haritaworn, Jin, Adi Kuntsman, and Silvia Posocco. “Introduction.” In Special Issue: Murderous Inclusions. Edited by Jin Haritaworn, Adi Kuntsman, and Silvia Posocco. International Feminist Journal of Politics 15.4 (2013): 445–452.

    DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2013.841568Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This special issue focuses on the intersection between violence, feminist/queer politics, and citizenship, exploring the ways that inclusion can be violent or murderous in terms of sexuality. The articles focus on contemporary formations of queer citizenships and how they are shaped by these “murderous inclusions.”

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  • Haritaworn, Jin, Adi Kuntsman, and Silvia Posocco, eds. Queer Necropolitics. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2014.

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    Multimethod, interdisciplinary, and international analyses of queer theory as applied to necropolitics, specifically focused on queer, abject subjects in “everyday death worlds”—war zones, torture, racism and sexism, and the carceral state.

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  • Lind, Amy, and Christine (Cricket) Keating. “Navigating the Left Turn: Sexual Justice and the Citizen Revolution in Ecuador.” In Special Issue: Murderous Inclusions. Edited by Jin Haritaworn, Adi Kuntsman, and Silvia Posocco. International Feminist Journal of Politics 15.4 (2013): 515–533.

    DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2013.813162Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Authors analyze Ecuador’s perplexing stance of simultaneously enacting pro-LGBT reforms in the late 1990s while banning same-sex marriage and adoption in 2008. They suggest that this contradictory position is due to the pull of both homophobic and “homoprotectionist” state policies.

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  • Scott, Jessica. “The Distance between Death and Marriage: Citizenship, Violence, and Same-Sex Marriage in South Africa.” In Special Issue: Murderous Inclusions. Edited by Jin Haritaworn, Adi Kuntsman, and Silvia Posocco. International Feminist Journal of Politics 15.4 (2013): 534–551.

    DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2013.832891Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Scott examines the roles of racialization, empire, and heteronormativity in the institution of marriage for same-sex couples. She provides a case study of black lesbian women in South Africa and the reinforcement of particular nationalist and cultural discourses to propose the heteronormative cooption of LGBT couples through the institution of marriage.

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Queer IR

To the extent that queer theory has engaged with global politics and IR theorists have engaged with and borrowed from queer theory, there has been a queer IR since the 1990s. At the same time, the use of the term “queer IR” in published work is rather recent (Shepherd and Sjoberg 2012; Weber 2013, cited under Textbooks; Peterson 2014; Sjoberg and Weber 2014; Weber 2015). This section, then, engages the development of queer IR with awareness of that disciplinary history, exploring both queer work in IR before the declaration of “queer IR” and the emergence of “queer IR,” before turning to case studies and empirical work.

From IR/Queer to Queer IR

Many of the pieces of IR research that have paid attention to queer issues and queer concerns are cited in other sections—Peterson 1999 and Peterson 2013 (both cited under Queer Theory, States, and Nationalisms) on nationalisms and state constitution; Weber 1998 (cited under Method), a work on state sovereignty and performative foreign policy; and Weiss and Bosia 2013, a work on global homophobia. Weber 2015 has argued that these works, along with a canon in queer global studies, is and has always been queer IR but has been unrecognizable as such because of structural blindnesses in the discipline. Sjoberg 2012 and Shepherd and Sjoberg 2012 (cited under Rethinking Sex/Gender) make the case for recognizing and analyzing the queer in global politics, and using queer theorizing to alter the questions IR scholarship asks. Peterson 2014 provides an exemplar of this sort of theoretical and empirical work, showing that both figurations of the state and IR’s analysis of those figurations rely on heteronormative significations of legitimacy and difference. Sjoberg and Weber 2014, an edited collection, explores the status of the fledgling enterprise of queer IR. Contributors consider the effects of “queering” IR, questioning the discipline’s ordering dichotomization (order/anarchy; normal/perverse; masculinity/femininity; hetero-, homo-normative/queer). There is a collapsing of the boundaries between international, national, and intimate relations, and this reveals various co-options of queer subjectivities and practices. As homosexuality is co-opted by heteronormativity and results in the creation of homonormativity (which rather than undermining, actually upholds heteronormative logics), states capitalize on this, through iterations of homonationalism or pinkwashing. Pinkwashing refers to the cooption of LGBTIQ* rights by (white) queer liberalism, to capitalize on its rhetoric of modernity, democracy, and cosmopolitanism. In particular, states that use the quality of their record on queer rights as an indicator of the quality of the state pinkwash imperialism and violence that those proclamations cover up.

  • Peterson, V. Spike. “Sex Matters: A Queer History of Hierarchies.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16.3 (2014): 389–409.

    DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2014.913384Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Peterson constructs a genealogy of sex from very early state making and human sociality through early urbanization and the creation of Greek city-states and the Athenian polis, demonstrating the historical creation of what is considered the “Western tradition,” particularly for conceptions of gender, sexuality, race, and other signifiers of “difference.”

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  • Sjoberg, Laura. “Toward Trans-Gendering International Relations?” International Political Sociology 6.4 (2012): 337–354.

    DOI: 10.1111/ips.12005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Sjoberg maps the concept of trans* theorizing and its contributions for the study of global politics and feminist theorizing. She analyzes potential benefits and tensions in cooperation between trans* theorizing and feminist theorizing in IR and suggests further collaboration to expand IR’s largely absent consideration of gender and its cissexist bias.

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  • Sjoberg, Laura, and Cynthia Weber. “Queer International Relations.” Forum of International Studies Review 16.4 (2014): 596–622.

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    Cynthia Weber, Amy Lind, V. Spike Peterson, Laura Sjoberg, Lauren Wilcox, and Meghana Nayak debate the role of queer logic in IR and the insights of queer theorizing for issues in contemporary global politics, including territorial peace, borders, sovereignties, nations, and empires. They question the effects of normalization and depoliticization on dimensions of queer theorizing and visibility, for example, in the ways in which queer has been co-opted through homonationalism and pinkwashing, and ask how these developments have affected and will affect the discipline of IR and queer IR theorizing.

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  • Weber, Cynthia. “Why Is There No Queer International Theory?” European Journal of International Relations 21.1 (2015): 27–55

    DOI: 10.1177/1354066114524236Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    To answer this question, Weber cites the disciplining and normalizing effects of disciplinary IR, which through the combination of what she calls homologization, figuration, and gentrification, both conceals and delegitimizes queer international theory. She elaborates the implications of disciplinary IR’s regulation of queer theory, specifically the ceding of intellectual leadership to other disciplines.

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  • Weiss, Meredith L., and Michael J. Bosia, eds. Global Homophobia: States, Movements, and the Politics of Oppression. Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2013.

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    Authors introduce and discuss a conceptualization of “political homophobia,” which they define as specifically political and modular, seeing the concept globalized through transnational diffusion and through domestic adoption of seemingly parallel anti-gay policies. Issues that are covered include homophobic violence, the legacies of communism and colonialism, and the relationship between homonationalism and neoliberalism.

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  • Wilcox, Lauren. Bodies of Violence: Theorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199384488.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Wilcox reintegrates a socially constructed but material body into IR, a discipline that views bodies (especially victims of violence) as “inert objects” and apolitical. She proposes that reintegrating bodies in political violence theorizing provides IR with a better capacity to see violence not only as strategic or destructive action, but also as creative in its shaping of identities, boundaries, and political subjectivities.

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Case Studies and Applications

A number of scholars of queer global studies and queer IR have applied the theoretical insights of queer IR/queer global studies to what is going on in the global political arena. Some of those applications have been to particular locations and groups around the world: Schulman 2012, a (very different) queer analysis of pinkwashing in the Israel/Palestine conflict (where Israel holds itself out as a bastion of queer rights compared to its neighbors); Pratt 2007, an analysis of the Queen Boat case in Egypt; Weber 1999, an analysis of US foreign policy to the Caribbean; Moreno 2008, an engagement with the gay, lesbian, transvestite, transsexual, transgender, bisexual, and intersex (GLTTTBI) movement in Argentina; Lamble 2009, a work on trans* bodies in Toronto women’s bathhouses; or many of the case-based articles in the “Murderous Inclusions” (2013) special issue of the International Feminist Journal of Politics (see Murderous Inclusions/Queer Necropolitics). This case-based work has demonstrated the interdependence of sexualities and politics in the global arena while at the same time showing the importance of careful attention to both context and contradiction. Other work, like Picq and Thiel 2015, engages both the empirical treatment of the queer in global politics and how LGBT(QI) perspectives matter differently in different times, places, and contexts.

  • Britt, Brett Remkus. “Pinkwashed: Gay Rights, Colonial Cartographies, and Racial Categories in the Pornographic Film of Men of Israel.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17.3 (2015): 398–415

    DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2014.929370Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Britt analyzes gay rights in Israel-Palestine through the concept of pinkwashing and the pornographic film Men of Israel. He demonstrates how pinkwashing replicates and legitimizes certain exclusionary practices, which exclude gay Palestinians from the rights afforded to gay men in Israel.

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  • Kollman, Kelly. “Same-Sex Unions: The Globalization of an Idea.” International Studies Quarterly 51.2 (2007): 329–357.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2007.00454.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Kollman analyzes same-sex union laws in Western democracies through the rise of transnational LGBT activist networks, explaining differences through the mediation of national religious practices and perception of international norms.

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  • Lamble, Sarah. “Unknowable Bodies, Unthinkable Sexualities: Lesbian and Transgender Legal Invisibility in the Toronto Women’s Bathhouse Raid.” Social Legal Studies 18.1 (2009): 111–130.

    DOI: 10.1177/0964663908100336Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lamble uncovers the invisibility of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in Anglo-American litigation through an infamous Canadian case of a police raid on a woman’s bathhouse. She demonstrates how this legal invisibility shapes identities, subjectivities, and the politics of belonging.

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  • Moreno, Alumine. “Open Space: The Politics of Visibility and the GLTTTBI Movement in Argentina.” Feminist Review 89 (2008): 138–143.

    DOI: 10.1057/fr.2008.1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Moreno provides a comprehensive case study on the politics of visibility of the GLTTTBI movement in Argentina.

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  • Picq, Manuela, and Markus Thiel, eds. Sexualities in World Politics: How LGBTQ Claims Shape International Relations. New York: Routledge, 2015.

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    Authors present case studies to demonstrate how queer perspectives shape world politics and influence IR theory. They reconsider traditional concepts of IR through queer theory, evaluating how queering politics can affect political subjectivity, activism, and global politics at large. Topics include human rights, international law, cultural diffusion, and national identity.

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  • Pratt, Nicola. “The Queen Boat Case in Egypt: Sexuality, National Security, and State Sovereignty.” Review of International Studies 33.1 (2007): 129–144.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0260210507007346Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Pratt analyzes Egyptian nationalism through the discourse of national security, which constructs homosexuality as a threat. She examines national identity and culture construction through the uncovering of boundaries of the Egyptian nation, which are consciously differentiated from the West, specifically in terms of sexuality.

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  • Schulman, Sarah. Israel/Palestine and the Queer International. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822396536Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Personal narrative of Schulman’s own identity as a Jewish-American and development as an LGBT activist, and a case study of the politics of pinkwashing in Israel/Palestine. She provides analysis of queer theory in international politics, connecting queer liberation with the liberation of other oppressed individuals—for the author, Palestinians.

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  • Weber, Cynthia. Faking It: US Hegemony in a “Post-Phallic” Era. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999.

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    Humorous and poignant queer analysis of the hegemonic masculinity of US foreign policy relations in the Caribbean since 1959. Faking It argues that the heterosexual narrative of foreign relations and American identity has been queered, ushering in a “post-phallic” era of US foreign policy, characterized by symbolic performances of drag, male hysteria, and castration anxiety to paradoxically make the US sovereign nation-state appear to be hegemonically masculine.

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