Paper Title

Queer Nation-Building: LGBT and Queer Discourses in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Location

Evans Room, Third Floor, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

March 2016

End Date

March 2016

Keywords

Homonormativity, Homonationalism, Biopower, Orientalism, Pinkwashing, Post-colonialism, Intersectionality

Abstract

As Puar and Duggan have demonstrated, with the rise of neoliberalism, homonormative LGBT subjects have been incorporated into projects of state power (e.g. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times and “The New Homonormativity: The Sexual Politics of Neoliberalism”). My paper examines how representations of LGBT (homonormative) and queer (resisting normative categorization) desires and lives construct competing conceptions of nationhood in Israel and Palestine. Analyzing LGBT and queer Israeli cultural productions (e.g. Out in the Dark and The Bubble) and queer readings of Palestinian works (e.g. Plan D), I argue that Israel deploys LGBT representations in its national narrative, not merely to conceal human rights abuses toward Palestinians (as Sarah Schulman argues in Israel/Palestine and the Queer International), but also to reinforce hegemony against the Palestinian territories. The Israeli films I examine produce Palestine as, what I term, an “orientalist closet,” an inherently racialized and homophobic place; meanwhile, the image of a “gay-friendly Israel” is used to justify Israeli modernity, occupation, and national pride. Conversely, queerness in Palestinian works expands Palestinian nationhood to parallel fellow histories of occupation and displacement, including the cases of apartheid in South Africa and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. In this way, the figure of the Palestinian queer becomes a medium of articulating national disempowerment and acts as a symbol of post-colonial solidarity.

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Mar 31st, 2:00 PM Mar 31st, 3:15 PM

Queer Nation-Building: LGBT and Queer Discourses in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Evans Room, Third Floor, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

As Puar and Duggan have demonstrated, with the rise of neoliberalism, homonormative LGBT subjects have been incorporated into projects of state power (e.g. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times and “The New Homonormativity: The Sexual Politics of Neoliberalism”). My paper examines how representations of LGBT (homonormative) and queer (resisting normative categorization) desires and lives construct competing conceptions of nationhood in Israel and Palestine. Analyzing LGBT and queer Israeli cultural productions (e.g. Out in the Dark and The Bubble) and queer readings of Palestinian works (e.g. Plan D), I argue that Israel deploys LGBT representations in its national narrative, not merely to conceal human rights abuses toward Palestinians (as Sarah Schulman argues in Israel/Palestine and the Queer International), but also to reinforce hegemony against the Palestinian territories. The Israeli films I examine produce Palestine as, what I term, an “orientalist closet,” an inherently racialized and homophobic place; meanwhile, the image of a “gay-friendly Israel” is used to justify Israeli modernity, occupation, and national pride. Conversely, queerness in Palestinian works expands Palestinian nationhood to parallel fellow histories of occupation and displacement, including the cases of apartheid in South Africa and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. In this way, the figure of the Palestinian queer becomes a medium of articulating national disempowerment and acts as a symbol of post-colonial solidarity.