Radical History Review
Queer Futures: The Homonormativity Issue
Much has changed since the RHR’s special “Queer” issue (No. 62, Spring 1995), in which historians and their allies explored “new visions of America’s gay and lesbian past.” Queers now unabashedly eye straight guys on cable television; films featuring gay characters and themes are celebrated by mainstream audiences, breaking box office records and winning major industry awards; “gay marriage” has emerged as the central civil rights cause for powerful organizations like the Human Rights Campaign; urban activists and civic boosters promote “gay business districts” as a means for achieving visibility and equality; and multibillion-dollar markets targeting gay and lesbian tourist dollars are booming.
For many, such articulations of gay and lesbian identity in the public sphere provide evidence of true social and political progress. Yet in the past decade, some radical activists and scholars have cited such developments not as progressive signs of liberation but as reactionary responses linked directly to the privatizing imperatives of a powerful, ascendant brand of neoliberal politics that coalesced in the 1990s. Lisa Duggan, for example, has identified this trend as evidence of “the new homonormativity…a politics that does not contest dominant heteronormative assumptions and institutions but upholds and sustains them.” In accordance with this new homonormativity, prominent lesbian and gay rights organizations increasingly embrace agendas that vie for acceptance within contemporary economic and political systems, thereby abandoning their earlier commitments to economic redistribution and protecting sexual freedoms. This shift has made strange bedfellows out of lesbian and gay rights organizations and social conservatives: both endorse normative and family-oriented formations associated with domestic partnership, adoption, and gender-normative social roles; both tend to marginalize those who challenge serial monogamy and those – including transgender, bisexual, pansexual, and intersex constituencies – who feel oppressed by a binary gender or sex system. Moreover, because of its economic base in the neoliberal philosophy of consumer rights rather than that of citizen rights, the politics of homonormativity exercises an influence beyond U.S. borders, through gay and lesbian tourism, the global proliferation of gay and lesbian-themed U.S. cultural productions, and economic and political interventions that claim to make “gay rights” a global issue.
Many queer and/or sex-positive radicals fear such neoliberal strategies, not only because they undermine citizens’ rights but because they threaten to erase the historic alliance between radical politics and lesbian and gay politics, at the core of which has been a struggle for sexual freedom. In order to counter the long-term consequences of historical amnesia, we need new analytical frameworks for talking about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer history that expand and challenge current models of identity and community formation as well as models of political and cultural resistance.
The RHR seeks submissions that explore the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer past in relation to contemporary conceptions of homonormativity, neoliberalism, and globalization in North America and beyond.
Some suggested topical fields include:
Genealogies of homonormativities
Homonormativity and racial formations
Historical analyses of the politics of marriage and procreation in relation to gay and lesbian political and community formations
Historical studies of the “domestic partner” in relation to law, corporate policy, privatization, and/or cultural production
Studies of how homonormativities travel across borders, including histories of gay and lesbian tourism and organized interventions into issues in the name of “gay rights”
Homonormativities in relation to transgender studies and politics
Urban models of “gay gentrification” and contemporary configurations of LGBT identity
Histories of gay and lesbian markets and consumption
Analyses of academic culture and its disciplining of glbt studies, institutional development, and academic investments in homonormativity
Critiques of homonormativity from queer of color and feminist of color perspectives
AIDS activism and the politics of sex(uality) in transnational frameworks
Globalization, gay/lesbian identities, and cultural hegemonies
State investments in the production and sustenance of gay and lesbian identities
Homonormativity, government policy, and social provision (including the impact of homonormative politics on such issues as health insurance provision, social services, and “disaster relief”)
Genealogies of gay and lesbian conservative political movements
Sexual politics and history of the “right to privacy”
Histories and critiques of identity and queer migrations
Resistance to politics of homonormativity in U.S. and globally
The editors of this special edition invite contributions that explore these or any themes that relate to homonormativity, queer pasts, or queer futures. We welcome short reports and reflections, documents, photo essays, art and illustrations, interviews with activists or intellectuals, teaching resources – including syllabi, original documents, and exhibit and book reviews. RHR solicits contributions from activists and academics.
Procedures for submission of proposals and articles:
By August 15, 2006, please submit a 1-2 page abstract summarizing the article you wish to submit to email@example.com. By September 30, 2006 authors will be notified whether they should submit their article in full. The due date for solicited, complete articles for blind peer review is January 1, 2007. Articles that are selected for publication after the peer review process will appear in volume 100 of Radical History Review, scheduled to appear in Winter 2008.
To be considered manuscripts should be submitted electronically, preferably in Microsoft Word or rich text format, with "Issue 100 submission" in the subject line.
Abstract Deadline: August 15, 2006
Radical History Review
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