Postcolonial homonationalism in contemporary Asia: insights from Hong Kong and Singapore

Obendorf, Simon (2012) Postcolonial homonationalism in contemporary Asia: insights from Hong Kong and Singapore. In: Association of South East Asian Studies in the United Kingdom, 7-9 September 2012, University of Durham, Durham, UK. (Unpublished)

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Official URL: http://aseasuk.org.uk/v2/conference2012

Abstract

This paper deploys Jasbir Puar’s provocative exploration of homonormative nationalism (or “homonationalism”) in order to unpack the development of queer politics in contemporary postcolonial Asia. Puar’s identification of the ways in which queer bodies, politics and cultures become co-opted within discourses of national citizenship and international relations/foreign policy provides a useful context in which to explore some of the external factors impinging on queer identity formation and political possibility in today’s Asia. The paper draws upon two Asian urban polities – Singapore and Hong Kong – to explore this thesis. Puar’s richly detailed study is directed primarily to the ways in which queers in the USA have become subject to homonationalist discourses and figured as exemplars of American exceptionalism within American nationalist self-imaginings and imperial self-justification. Yet she further details the way in which these authorised homonormative queer subjectivities are used differentiate the national environments in which they are lodged from alternative, barbaric and monstrous, queer subjectivities located outside the state and therefore to be made subject to its judgement and politico-military control. Changing the focus to the postcolonial Asian city (in its incarnations both as sovereign city-state and quasi-autonomous global city-region) demonstrates both the conceptual utility of Puar’s theoretical notion as well as some of the ways in which the external transnational politics of the Asian polity now draw upon and repackage notions of both the desirable national queer subject and the threatening queer outlander. The paper explores some of the ways in which these ideals circulate and the politics – and possibilities for queer subjects – to which they give rise. The paper also addresses the extent to which Puar’s ideas about homonationalism giving rise to racialised national imaginings function within non-Western forms of homonationalist discourse.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:This paper deploys Jasbir Puar’s provocative exploration of homonormative nationalism (or “homonationalism”) in order to unpack the development of queer politics in contemporary postcolonial Asia. Puar’s identification of the ways in which queer bodies, politics and cultures become co-opted within discourses of national citizenship and international relations/foreign policy provides a useful context in which to explore some of the external factors impinging on queer identity formation and political possibility in today’s Asia. The paper draws upon two Asian urban polities – Singapore and Hong Kong – to explore this thesis. Puar’s richly detailed study is directed primarily to the ways in which queers in the USA have become subject to homonationalist discourses and figured as exemplars of American exceptionalism within American nationalist self-imaginings and imperial self-justification. Yet she further details the way in which these authorised homonormative queer subjectivities are used differentiate the national environments in which they are lodged from alternative, barbaric and monstrous, queer subjectivities located outside the state and therefore to be made subject to its judgement and politico-military control. Changing the focus to the postcolonial Asian city (in its incarnations both as sovereign city-state and quasi-autonomous global city-region) demonstrates both the conceptual utility of Puar’s theoretical notion as well as some of the ways in which the external transnational politics of the Asian polity now draw upon and repackage notions of both the desirable national queer subject and the threatening queer outlander. The paper explores some of the ways in which these ideals circulate and the politics – and possibilities for queer subjects – to which they give rise. The paper also addresses the extent to which Puar’s ideas about homonationalism giving rise to racialised national imaginings function within non-Western forms of homonationalist discourse.
Keywords:homosexuality, asia, Hong Kong, Singapore, nationalism, homonationalism, homonormative nationalism
Subjects:L Social studies > L243 Politics of a specific country/region
L Social studies > L214 Nationalism
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:6338
Deposited By: Simon Obendorf
Deposited On:27 Sep 2012 21:07
Last Modified:27 Sep 2012 21:07

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