C19 Conference (2018): Genealogies of Homonationalism
Homonationalism has typically been used to name a late-twentieth and twenty-first century phenomenon in which gay and lesbian rights discourse has achieved power, in part, by donning the rhetoric of U.S. exceptionalism. Yet Jasbir Puar’s 2013 re-articulation of homonationalism as a “facet of modernity and a historical shift” also points to an underexplored set of questions pertinent to nineteenth-century American Studies: What are the deeper genealogies of homonationalism? What forms does it take in periods prior to the popularization of the “homosexual” as a type in Euro-American sexology? What earlier iterations of nationalist homosociality also comprise something like a sexual politics? In what contexts does the homo- of homonationalism become useful for describing non-sexual social formations? What affinities exist between histories of homosociality—erotic, intellectual, aesthetic, literary, militaristic, class-based, or otherwise—and the machinations of white supremacy and settler colonialism?
Scholars of sexuality such as Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, Peter Coviello, and Samaine Lockwood have paved the way for this work to be done, attesting to the fact that national belonging in the United States has long taken shape through the cultivation of same-sex intimacy and homosocial attachment. At the same time, scholars such as Mark Rifkin, Siobhan Somerville, and Leela Gandhi have urged scholars to look to the nineteenth century to explore intersections between queer sexualities, deviant racial formations, and anti-colonial politics. Building on this work, “Genealogies of Homonationalism” will interrogate where and how homonationalism takes shape in the 19th century, and in what contexts homonationalism becomes useful, as a category of analysis, for describing intersections between race, citizenship, and socialities oriented toward “sameness.”
We invite 300-word abstracts pertaining to any of the themes and questions addressed above. Please direct these and short CVs to Travis Foster (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Don James McLaughlin (email@example.com) no later than September 5th, 2017.