"Beyond the Erotics of Orientalism: Feminist and Queer Investments in Liberal War" - Dr Melanie Richter Montpetit
Dr Melanie Richter-Montpetit will present to the Department of Politics International Politics Research Group
Wednesday 13th April 2016 | 4pm-6pm | Room G19, Elmfield Building, Northumberland Road
Much of Feminist International Relations scholarship today has pointed to the seeming impossibility of thinking about war, security and soldiering without invoking discourses of heteromasculinity (Hutchings 2008: 402). And yet, post-9/11 U.S. national security making has, over time, increasingly relied on quite dramatic transgressions from the usual gendered grammars of war and security - departures in terms of both cultural logics and ‘actual’ security practices. Presenting materials from a book manuscript, the talk asks: How do we make feminist sense of these seemingly progressive reconfigurations of gender and sexuality in ways that are ‘responsible and politically effective’ (Zalewski & Parpart 2008: 1)? With this concern in mind, the first part of the talk critically engages a range of analytical concepts and frameworks deployed in prominent feminist commentaries on the participation of ciswomen soldiers in torture and other seemingly masculine security practices. Following a discussion of ‘e(race)sures’ (Moore 2012) in this literature, the second part of the talk then explores performances of gay patriotism and queer intimacies by active duty soldiers. Drawing on Black feminist, Native feminist and Queer of Color analytics of power, it will be argued that (racially) feminized and queer subjects get folded into and become invested (Agathangelou et al. 2008; Lamble 2013) in the governmental project of liberal war not only in relationship to the figure of the Orientalized ‘monster-terrorist-fag’ so brilliantly explored by Puar & Rai (2002), but are also produced in relationship to structures of settler colonialism and anti-Blackness.
Dr Melanie Richter-Montpetit is Lecturer of Politics in the Department of Politics.