Today, we’re excited to share “Area Impossible: The Geopolitics of Queer Studies,” the latest issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Edited by Anjali Arondekar and Geeta Patel, “Area Impossible” stages a much-needed conversation between two often-segregated fields: queer studies and area studies.
Within queer studies, the turn to geopolitics has challenged the field’s logics of time, space, and culture, which have routinely been rooted in the United States. For area studies, the focus on diaspora, forced migration, and other transnational trajectories has unmoored the geopolitical from the stability of nations as organizing concepts.
The contributors to “Area Impossible” seek to imagine and broker conversations in which “area” becomes the form through which epistemologies of empire and market are critiqued. They approach a queer geopolitics through exploring topics such as debt bondage, sexuality and indentured labor, trans theater, Dalit religiosity, and queer studies in Africa.
Read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.
Interested in reading more of the latest in queer and area studies? Check out our recent scholarship:
In Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, Jasbir K. Puar argues that configurations of sexuality, race, gender, nation, class, and ethnicity are realigning in relation to contemporary forces of securitization, counterterrorism, and nationalism. She examines how liberal politics incorporate certain queer subjects into the fold of the nation-state, through developments including the legal recognition inherent in the overturning of anti-sodomy laws and the proliferation of more mainstream representation.
When imagined in relation to other regions of the United States, the Midwest is often positioned as the norm, the uncontested site of white American middle-class heteronormativity. A growing body of recent queer work on rural sexualities, transnational migration, regional identities, and working-class culture suggests the need to understand the Midwest otherwise. “Queering the Middle,” a recent issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, offers an opportunity to think with, through, and against the idea of region. The introduction is freely available.
Jyoti Puri, in Sexual States, tracks the efforts to decriminalize homosexuality in India to show how the regulation of sexuality is fundamentally tied to the creation and enduring existence of the state. By highlighting the various means through which the regulation of sexuality constitutes India’s heterogeneous and fragmented “sexual state,” Puri provides a conceptual framework to understand the links between sexuality and the state more broadly.
In Metroimperial Intimacies Victor Román Mendoza combines historical, literary, and archival analysis with queer-of-color critique to show how U.S. imperial incursions into the Philippines enabled the growth of unprecedented social and sexual intimacies between native Philippine and U.S. subjects. By highlighting the importance of racial and gendered violence in maintaining control at home and abroad, Mendoza demonstrates that studies of U.S. sexuality must take into account the reach and impact of U.S. imperialism.
Whereas many scholars assume the emergence of queer cultures in China signals the end of Marxism and demonstrates China’s political and economic evolution, Petrus Liu finds the opposite to be true in Queer Marxism in Two Chinas. He challenges the persistence of Cold War formulations of Marxism that position it as intellectually incompatible with queer theory, and shows how queer Marxism offers a nonliberal alternative to Western models of queer emancipation.
In The Security Archipelago, Paul Amar provides an alternative historical and theoretical framing of the refashioning of free-market states and the rise of humanitarian security regimes in the Global South by examining the pivotal, trendsetting cases of Brazil and Egypt. Addressing gaps in the study of neoliberalism and biopolitics, Amar describes how coercive security operations and cultural rescue campaigns confronting waves of resistance have appropriated progressive, antimarket discourses around morality, sexuality, and labor.