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Feminism and queer theory POLS 214 International Relations Theory

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QuestionnaireToday • What is feminism in IR? – Gender and feminism – Feminism in IR • What is queer theory in IR? – What does “queer” mean? – Queer IR 3Gender… or sex? • Ma... le/female: SEX (biological) – Chromosomal differentiation – Secondary sex characteristics • Masculinity/femininity: GENDER (social) – Coded gender behaviours, identities, representations 4Gender coding • What is gendered as “feminine” (that is, feminized) is devalued culturally and materially • Masculine privileged over (and at expense of) feminine 5Masculine • Independent, strong, in control, hard • Knower, rational, objective, mind • Culture, civilized, order • Productive • Public “sphere”, political Feminine • Dependent, weak, uncertain, soft • Known, emotional, subjective, body • Nature, primitive, disorder • Reproductive • Private “sphere”, personalBut what does this have to do with IR?Feminism and IR • Different epistemological perspectives – How do we know (make knowledge claims)? • Different ontological perspectives – What do we think gender/sex is? – How can we challenge and transform existing gender relations? • Normative theory – Want to transform gender relations… but how and to what extent it’s possible depends on epistemology and ontologyFeminism is not just about raising the profile of women in IR but about raising the profile of the genderbiased nature of IR as a field of the social sciences.Gender and feminism in IR 10Some of feminism’s key contributions to IR • “bottom-up” • “Sovereign”/“rational” subject is fiction based on masculine premises • “Real world” accounts ignoring gender are inaccurate and can dangerously mislead • Even in areas we think are gender-neutral 11How does feminism present a challenge to the way we study IR? 1. Feminism raises questions about how we understand our world and how gendered values shape inequalities. 2. Feminism raises questions about what IR is (and is for). 3. Feminism raises questions about the purpose of theory. 12Links here • PS / CR: language is political / domination / exclusion • CT — methodology: from domination to emancipation • Differences?What would a feminist foreign policy look like?What is queer theory?Queer as a way of understanding and analysing the worldFoucault’s History of Sexuality • Invention of sexuality as sphere of human life, form of identity and logic of control • 18th & 19th-C. scientific fascination with sex • Homosexuality: from act to “species” 17“The dividing up of all sexual acts—indeed all persons—under the ‘opposite’ categories of ‘homo’ and ‘hetero’ is not a natural given process but a historical process, still incomplete today and ultimately impossible but characterised by potent contradictions and explosive effects” Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, 1990 18What does “queer” mean? “Queer is by definition whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. There is nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers.” (Halperin 1997) 19Queer theory • Builds on (and goes beyond) feminist ideas • How we think is shaped by understandings of normality and perversion • Disrupt, question or subvert established knowledge (discourse, categories, roles, etc.) 20LGBTQ+ studies or queer theory? • LGBTQ+: impacts of policies & practices on people – Same-sex marriage in countries around the world – LGBTQ+ rights at UN, EU, individual states, etc. • Queer: not enough to “add LGBTQ+ people & stir” – Challenging marriage as a heteronormative institution – How ideas about sexuality shape our understanding of states, institutions, norms, groups, etc. – “Queering” – disrupting narratives and norms 21• “Compulsory heterosexuality” • Alignment of biological sex, sexuality, gender identities and gender roles • Monogamy and nuclear family 2223Homonationalism • Jasbir Puar’s Terrorist Assemblages (2007) • Promotion of a particular vision of LGBTQ+ life – “Homonormativity” and same-sex marriage – LGBTQ+ rights as precondition for modernity • Alignment with LGBTQ+ cause… but against migrants (especially Muslim migrants) – Far-right parties 24Pinkwashing • Portmanteau of “pink” and “whitewash” • Gay-friendly veneer as a cover for governments, TNCs, militaries, etc. • Israeli efforts to promote image of progressive tolerance as well as investment, tourism, etc. 2526Key thinkers and works • Beyond IR: – Michel Foucault – Judith Butler – Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick – David Halperin – Michael Warner – Judith/Jack Halberstam 27Key thinkers and works • In and related to IR: – Cynthia Weber – Melanie Richter-Montpetit – Laura Sjoberg – Rahul Rao – Jasbir Puar – Paul Amar 28Queer IR • Disrupting dominant narratives and structures as a political strategy • What is “normal”? Linked to power! 29“Statecraft as mancraft” • IR tends to conceive of states, institutions, regions, etc. as people (i.e. men) • “Sovereign man” – Roots in Hobbesian political theory – Realism: states as “rational actors” – Draws on psychology and developmental thinking: what is true as dev of individual also true of state • Amounts to: “statecraft as mancraft” (dev of state analogous to dev of human) 3031“Statecraft as mancraft” • Queer International Relations (Weber 2016) • Asks if state sovereign man, then who are the ‘others’ (binary) • Political development = psychological development, analogy – Homosexual as individually backward – Undeveloped states as civilisationally backward • Four “others” to the figure of sovereign man • Figures or archetypes that shape understanding, not specific individuals 32“Statecraft as mancraft” Redeemable Intransigent In place Undeveloped (people in developing countries like Nigeria, Kenya) Undevelopable (people refuse development, like in Vietnam or Cuba) On the move Unwanted im/migrant (show up where they’re not meant to be, like Mexicans in USA) Terrorist (out of place literally anywhere, like Al-Qaeda members) 33Take a few minutes • Consider overlaps / difference with approaches covered so far 34Seminar preparation • Theory application: why is gender relevant in the study of IR? Illustrate answer with examples • Skills: application skills — this is largely useful for essay writing and later on in academic career, as well as think tanks and research / writing generally 35Summary and lessons • Feminism and queer theory challenge the status quo of IR • Challenge of ‘normal’ categories — these are political and with exclusionary consequences • For seminar application skills: needed in essays! 36 [Show More]

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