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Rethinking Homonationalism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 April 2013

Jasbir Puar*
Department of Women's and Gender Studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.; e-mail:


In my 2007 monograph Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (hereafter TA), I develop the conceptual frame of “homonationalism” for understanding the complexities of how “acceptance” and “tolerance” for gay and lesbian subjects have become a barometer by which the right to and capacity for national sovereignty is evaluated. I had become increasingly frustrated with the standard refrain of transnational feminist discourse as well as queer theories that unequivocally stated, quite vociferously throughout the 1990s, that the nation is heteronormative and that the queer is inherently an outlaw to the nation-state. While the discourse of American exceptionalism has always served a vital role in U.S. nation-state formation, TA examines how sexuality has become a crucial formation in the articulation of proper U.S. citizens across other registers like gender, class, and race, both nationally and transnationally. In this sense, homonationalism is an analytic category deployed to understand and historicize how and why a nation's status as “gay-friendly” has become desirable in the first place. Like modernity, homonationalism can be resisted and re-signified, but not opted out of: we are all conditioned by it and through it.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013

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1 Puar, Jasbir, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2007), 4CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2 Laura Thouny, “L'affiche de la gay pride, pomme de discorde entre association,” Le Nouvel Observateur, (accessed 17 January 2013).

4 See the discussion in jadaliyya: Jasbir Puar and Maya Mikdashi, “Pinkwatching and Pinkwashing: Interpenetration and Its Discontents,” Jadaliyya, 9 August 2012,; and Heike Schotten and Haneen Maikey, “Queers Resisting Zionism: On Authority and Accountability beyond Homonationalism,” Jadaliyya, 10 October 2012,