Jindal Global Law Review

LAW, CULTURE AND QUEER POLITICS IN NEOLIBERAL TIMES - PART II

VOLUME 4, ISSUE 2, 2013

Issue Editors: Oishik Sircar Dipika Jain

Editor’s Foreword (PDF)

ARTICLES

1. Homonationalism as Assemblage Viral Travels, Affective Sexualities
     Jasbir K. Puar
     Article (PDF) | Abstract

In this article, I aim to contextualise the rise of gay and lesbian movements within the purview of debates about rights discourses and the rights-based subject, arguably the most potent aphrodisiac of liberalism. I examine how sexuality has become a crucial formation in the articulation of proper citizens across registers like gender, class, and race, both nationally and transnationally. The essay clarifies homonationalism as an analytic category necessary for understanding and historicising why a nation’s status as ‘‘gay-friendly’’ has become desirable in the first place. Like modernity, homonationalism can be resisted and resignified, but not opted out of: we are all conditioned by it and through it. The article proceeds in three sections. I begin with an overview of the project of Terrorist Assemblages, with specific attention to the circulation of the term ‘homonationalism’. Second, I will elaborate on homonationalism in the context of Palestine/Israel to demonstrate the relevance of sexual rights discourses and the narrative of pinkwashing to the occupation. I will conclude with some rumination about the potential of thinking sexuality not as an identity, but as assemblages of sensations, affects and forces. This virality of sexuality productivity destabilises humanist notions of the subjects of sexuality but also the political organising seeking to resist legal discourses that attempt to name and control these subjects of sexuality.
Jasbir K. Puar, Jindal Global Law Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, November 2013, 23:43, ISSN 0975-2498.

 

2. Beyond ‘Hate’ : Queer Metonymies of Crime, Pathology and Anti-Violence
     Jin Haritaworn
     Article (PDF) | Abstract

This article questions the uninterrogated role of hate as the hegemonic paradigm for understanding and organising against violence globally. While we have at our disposal a range of analytics – from affect studies to feminism to homosexuality – to make sense of dominant figurations of queer love and the neoliberal multicultural publics and carceral landscapes that they render palpable, hate has not undergone similar challenges. Using a transitional lens to document the arrival of the hate crime/violence discourse in Germany, where languages such as Hassgewalt that that attribute violence to hate are recent, I argue that hate is a risky diagnostic to organise around, in that it always already sticks to radicalised bodies. Tracing figurations of violence, homophobia and crime through a range of media, activist and policy texts, I argue that the drama of queer lovers ad hateful Others has unfolded in close proximity to wider crime discourses that are again inner city, a psy profile, an arsenal of techniques of punishment and reform, and a bio-and geopolitical horizon and orientation towards degenerate bodies and spaces that are both disposable and sites of value extraction. This has implications beyond what kind of languages we choose to use. The article calls for an abolitionist imagination that goes beyond the prison and extends to institutional and other sites more often considered caring and benevolent, including the communities we wish to build ourselves.
Jin Haritaworn, Jindal Global Law Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, November 2013, 44:78, ISSN 0975-2498.

 

3. Transnational Homo Assemblages Reading in Counter Terrorism Discourses
     Dianne Otto
      Article (PDF) | Abstract

This article offers a close reading of the gender mainstreaming report of Martin Scheinin, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism, and the response of states in the Question Time following its presentation to the Third Committee of the General Assembly in 2009. The report controversially defined gender to include socially constructed roles, functions and responsibilities in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity. The ensuring heated discussion about this understanding of gender is read queerly, focusing on three aspects: first, the disagreement about how to read the term gender; second, the refusal by some states to even engage in debate on the issue; and third, the claim that women, and possibly also other disadvantaged groups, will lose out if gender is understood as a social rather than biological category. The reading draws on Jasbir Puar’s analysis of the sexuality of ‘terrorism’ in order to reflect on Scheinin’s attempts to have those queer bodies targeted by counter-terrorism measures recognised by international law as ‘lives that matter’. It offers some insights into the project of queering international law, including the importance of multiple readings of seemingly clear-cut events and the need to maintain a vision of justice beyond the law.
Dianne Otto, Jindal Global Law Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, November 2013, 79:97, ISSN 0975-2498.

 

4. Post/Colonial Queer Globalisation and International Human Rights Images of LGBT Rights
      Aeyal Gross
      Article (PDF) | Abstract

In recent years, literature has pointed to the role of pictorial images in human rights advocacy. While this literature has focused mostly on images which portray the violations of human rights, this article considers images of a different type, that are used in the context of LGBT rights, advocacy, arguably portraying utopian visions of human rights. Through a reading of two images – the first portraying utopian visions of human rights. Through a reading of two images – the first portraying Dana International, the transgender pop singer who represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest and won, and the second portraying what looks like a same-sex couple who have got married – the article examines issues that come up in international LGBT rights advocacy, focusing on questions of the globalisation of identities, the recognition of family life and on the (post) colonial context in which rights claims are being made. The tension between the texts superimposed upon the images and the images themselves serve to expose existing contraditions withint LGBT rights advocacy as practiced inter alia through the use of these images. Finally, the ‘Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’ are examined and critically engaged with in light of the tensions in international LGBT rights advocacy discussed through a reading of the images.
Aeyal Gross, Jindal Global Law Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, November 2013, 98:130, ISSN 0975-2498.

 

5. Sexual Exiles or Citizens of the World? The Homoerotics of Travel
       Ruth Vanita
      Article (PDF) | Abstract

The article examines the literary representation, in fiction, non-fiction and poetry, of various types of travel and border-crossings by homosexuality inclined people, particularly from Europe to Asia and northern to southern Europe in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the US, to South America and Europe in the mid-twentieth century, and Asia to Europe and the US from the later twentieth century onwards. Placing these journeys in the context of the age-old global circulations of ideas regarding sexuality, I raise questions regarding the mixed motivations and experiences of sexual exiles and adventures who travel either literally or figuratively, creating new hybrid identities and literary genres as they go. Reading both well-known and little known texts composed in Europe, America and India, I look at the legal, literary and spiritual ramifications of such transnational movements and migrations, and also at travel as a symbol suggestive of many diverse and contradictory experiences, such as escape from oppression, sexual exploration, international connections and the search for a remade self.
Ruth Vanita, Jindal Global Law Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, November 2013, 131:150, ISSN 0975-2498.

 

6. The Men of Blanket Boy’s Moon Repugnancy Clauses, Customary Law and Migrant Labour Sex
      Neville Hoad
      Article (PDF) | Abstract

The article analyses Peter Lanham and A.S. Mopeli-Paulus’s Blanket Boy’s Moon (1953) in the hope of opening up a space between ideas of legal and cultural determination in the ‘’no homosexuality on African culture’’ debates of the late two decades. Through a consideration of the history of repugnancy clauses in British colonial customary law and a critique of contemporary theories of state sovereignty, the article disputes the universalist/cultural relativist, tradition/modernity dialectics that continue to frame the problem of African subjectivity and sovereignty. Repugnancy clauses represent a colonial version of Agamben’s argument about the relationship of sovereignty to the state of exception: indigenous sexual conduct was left to customary law except in instances when it was found to be repugnant to the gaze of the colonisers. South Africa is now the only country in the world to grant legal recognition to both polygamous and same-sex marriages, though the South African constitution asserts that customary law is only valid when in accordance with the equality clause. Increasingly, international human rights law in relation to a right to sexual orientation is engaging questions of tradition and indigeneity, thus revisiting some of the key questions that inhere in the relationship between repugnancy clauses and colonial sovereignty. The novel under discussion broaches colonial imaginings of ritual murder, homoerotic attachments that do not produce identity and the colonial state’s claim to the monopoly of legal, lethal violence in the guise of an ethnographic murder mystery. It therefore allows for the theoretical questions of the essay to find representation in embodied and affectively charged form.
Neville Hoad, Jindal Global Law Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, November 2013, 151:173, ISSN 0975-2498.

 

7. Slim Disease and the Science of Silence: The Invisibilisation of same sex sexuality in ‘African AIDS’ Discourse, 1983-2006
     Marc Epprecht
     Article (PDF) | Abstract

This paper focuses on the earliest epidemiological and other scientific studies of HIV/AIDS (or ‘slim disease’ as it was first colloquially known in Central Africa). This literature tentatively raised but very quickly dismissed the possibility of same-sex transmission of HIV. I examine how precisely African men who have sex with men but do not identify as gay or bisexual were written out of the investigation between 1983 and 1988 and how in this way ostensibly objective science served to reaffirm old ethnographic stereotypes about ‘African sexuality’. It contrasts the supposed ‘heterosexual African AIDS’ with more recent research and donor pressures upon African states that reverses this erasure of same-sex sexuality and calls for sexual minority rights. Without suggesting a direct link, this history does raise concerns about the politics of knowledge production in a period that was characterised by deeply unpopular, Western-backed transitions to neoliberal structural adjustments regimes.
March Epprecht, Jindal Global Law Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, November 2013, 174:208, ISSN 0975-2498.

 

8. Recognising Disability Cross Examining Social Inclusion through the Prism of Queer Anti Sociality
     Fiona Kumari Campbell
     Article (PDF) | Abstract

Studies in medical sociology and law construct disability as anti-productive, unthinkable and unintelligible. This article takes the view, long recognised in the phenomenological tradition, that alternate embodiments result in markedly different forms of human ontology. Enter queer theory. Antithetical to the proposition that disabled people are the same as the ‘abled’, I point to a (trans) difference and suggest that a way out of the confines of recuperative liberal intolerance is to figure the disabled body conceptually as anti-social and ableist normativity as (non) compulsory. I propose that the disabled body is counter-intuitive and actualises, negotiates ‘negative’ ways of knowing or disidentifications. Can queer theory be merely granted onto the crippled body and dragged onto another inflection.
Fiona Kumari Campbell, Jindal Global Law Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, November 2013, 209:238, ISSN 0975-2498.

 

9. In the Shadow of the Homoglobal: Queer Cosmopolitan in Tsai Ming Liang’s I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone
     Ani Maitra
     Article (PDF) | Abstract

In this paper, I ask: what does queerness mean once global capital begins to commodify homosexuality with a vengeance? How can queerness reinvent itself as an aesthetic and political optic to critique the commodity form and global capital’s production of unglamorous or discarded commodities? The introductory section of the paper briefly examines the emergent trend of US as well as transnational commodification of the married queer couple. This emergent cultural regime of ‘homoglobal’, I argue, evades the complexity of the social and subtly combines the rhetoric of lesbian and gay rights with a fetishization of the cosmopolitanism and consuming privileges of queer conjugality. The second section of the article attempts to provide an antidote to the regime through an analysis of Tsai Ming-liang’s film ‘I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (2006)’. Tsai’s queer lens, I argue, is invested in a rigorously non-heteronormative exploration of the dark underside of the phallic regime of commodification and unequal globalisation.
Ani Maitra, Jindal Global Law Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, November 2013, 239:267, ISSN 0975-2498.

 

10. Kissing Cousins: Racisim, Homophobia and Compulsory Able Bodiedness in the Controvery over Inter-Cousin Marriage
     Ummni Khan
     Article (PDF) | Abstract

The article analyses cousin couples as a contested form of intimacy in relation to racism, homophobia and compulsory able-bodiedness. Looking at representational and regulatory practices from the politico-legal realm, cousin couple advocacy and popular culture, I demonstrate that each discourse is in conversation with the others. I first consider procreative objections to inter-racial and same-sex marriage and compare them to arguments made about inter-cousin marriage in US law and recent calls to discourage cousin marriages in England and prohibit them in the Netherlands. Next, I analyse how the ‘Cousin Couples’ website advocates on behalf of inter-cousin relationships by invoking he race analogy while at the same time failing to address the impact of consanguinity laws on racialised communities. Of particular note are the conspicuous absence of a same-sex marriage analogy in the editorial arguments in ‘Cousin Couples’, and the ways stigmatisation is transferred to people with disabilities. Finally, I analyse a recent US film, Kissing Cousins, which centres on a budding romance between cousins of South Asian origin. While the film confronts the cousin taboo, it attempts to buy acceptability through consumerist identifications and ends by retreating to hegemonic scripts, particularly with recourse to assimilationist paradigms for racialised citizens. In all of the examined discursive arenas, racialisation, procreation and disability become sites of othering, while same-sex desire comes to occupy a more ambivalent position, sometimes seen as analogous to or overlapping with, and other times as distinguishable from, other issues surrounding cousin couples.
Ummni Khan, Jindal Global Law Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, November 2013, 268:295, ISSN 0975-2498.

 

11. Polymorphous Reproductivity and the Critique of Futurity: Toward a Queer Legal Analytic for Fertility Law
      Stu Marvel
      Article (PDF) | Abstract

This article aims to develop a queer legal analytic through which we can engage the complexities of reproductive technology use by queer subjects. It first seeks to reconcile the divide between legal scholarship and queer theory in accounting for the use of reproductivity technology by LGBTQ people. It maps a queer legal analytic that can engage articulations of the reproductive family and explores how child-bearing and reproduction have been envisioned by leading scholars within queer theory. It then argues that these visions have fallen short and offers new conceptual frames to encompass the variety and multiplicity of what is referred to as queer biokinship. My argument is that the intrinsically messy queer parenting projects of assisted reproduction demand a re-thinking of the alignments and arrangements pursued under the frame of biological kinship. Instead, the polymorphous reproductivity of queer biokinship can be understood as challenging the central mythology of heterosexual normativity and genital reproduction. Further, by centring the queer reproductive family at the heart of our analysis, we are able to demand access to state-led subsidies that can help mitigate the ruthless logics of medical privatisation. A queer perspective offers an extraordinarily useful intervention into the legal morass of assisted reproduction as it allows us to de-naturalise the procreative certainty of erotic coupling and determine where, how and on what grounds queer legal rights around assisted reproduction can and should be staked.
Stu Marvel, Jindal Global Law Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, November 2013, 296:314, ISSN 0975-2498.

 

12. Baring and Veiling: Sex, Politics and National Identity in Canadian Legal Discourse
      Carolina Ruiz Austria
      Article (PDF) | Abstract

Scholars have noted the centrality of migration law to mythic constructions of nation and national identity. Taking off from this observation, this article proposes a narrow focus on the process of legal meaning-making by courts and the legislature and how the lines drawn between the public and private spheres figure in these constructions. This article analyses two instances in which female subjects whose bodies are treated as symbols, carry the weight of legal meaning-making in constructing a discursive public or private body. By focusing on the regulation of baring and veiling in the Canadian context, the article considers regulatory effects that lie outside of the formal rules that define the terms of exclusion from the nation, set the conditions for entry, police its borders or extend formal membership. For the women they generally target, the regulation of both baring and veiling is directly experienced as a loss or diminished subject hood in the form of legal, political and social exclusion, even when the legal principles invoked in support of regulation purport to have egalitarian objectives such as gender equality and preventing social harm. Within the neoliberal script, the bared and veiled targets of regulation are less like subjects and more like objects. Feminist theory has long demonstrated how gender hierarchy limits or prevents full subjecthood but queer analysis pushes this further by noting that sexuality has proven particularly antithetical to subjecthood. I argue that while both insights are relevant here, a reflexive pause in the legal construction of particular regulated bodies and regulatory problems can shift the focus on actual persons who bear the brunt of regulation and transcend simplistic ‘for or against’ formulations of critical questions about law.
Carolina Ruiz Austria, Jindal Global Law Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, November 2013, 315:359, ISSN 0975-2498.

 

13. Queering Conceptual Boundaries: Assembling Indigenous, Marxist, Postcolonial and Queer Perspectives
      Paulo Revecca and Nishant Upadhyay
      Article (PDF) | Abstract

This article suggests the need for imagining assemblages and engagements between queer, Marxist, postcolonial and indigenous perspectives in order to critically confront the complex and ambivalent politics of queerness today. It grounds and deploys this reflection through a critical exploration of ‘Dawn of a New Gay’, a non-academic piece on ‘po-mo homo’ and the case of Queers Against the Israeli Apartheid, an activist group based in Toronto. Queerness, in our account, is constituted by dimensions which do far beyond a narrow conception of sexuality. Thus, ‘queering queerness’ implies talking about ‘classing’, ‘gendering’ and ‘racializing’ processes, avoiding an additive logic and acknowledging their interrelated messiness. By employing ‘queer’ as a self-reflexive, methodological tool, we examine its integral role in the processes of capitalism, racialisation, heteropatriarchy and colonialism. The suggested theoretical perspective has implications in terms of how to think of politics ‘as such’: there is a need, this article argues, to overcome economic and culturalist reductionisms in the approach to radical politics. Both are liberal in their ‘ideological mechanism’ because they proceed with the logic of segmentation and obscure how power(s) operate(s). Assembling critical perspectives is an. Impossible and necessary exercise of de-reification of categories and theories but, more fundamentally, it is an attempt to imagine less oppressive political praxes and futures.
Paulo Ravecca and Nishant Upadhyay, Jindal Global Law Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, November 2013, 360:382, ISSN 0975-2498.

 

BOOK REVIEW
14. Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labour: Sex Works and the Law in India by Prabha      Kotiswaran

    Saptarshi Mandal
      (PDF)

 

15. Hegemony and Heteronormativity: Revisiting ‘The Political’ in Queer Politics edited by María do Mar Castro Varela, Nikita Dhawan and Antke Engel
     Ashley Tellis
        (PDF)