This lecture explores how LGBT rights got entangled in the “clash of civilizations” and “war on terror” discourses, as became increasingly visible after the intense conjuncture of geo-sexual-politics in 2006. Bracke explores notions of homonationalism (Puar 2007) and gay imperialism (Haritaworn 2008) as ways of accounting for this new conjuncture, while distinguishing two levels of analysis: that of the use of the language of LGBT rights by official instances (such as states or in policy documents) on the one hand, and the often paradoxical ways in which LGBTQ movements have increasingly come to rely on understandings of “cultural difference” on the one hand, while articulating “Gay Rights are Universal Rights” on the other. Moreover, the paper explores the differences and similarities with the ways in which feminist rhetoric has been enlisted in the “War on terror” and how Western feminist discourses frame the transnational/the Other woman.
This lecture was given within the framework of the 2010 School of Critical Theory organized by the Centre for the Humanities in Utrecht. The programme was titled ‘Cosmopolitanism, Peace and Conflict’, and offered trans-national and interdisciplinary approaches drawn from the humanities, social sciences, law, philosophy and international relations. Its focus on the development of crossnational European perspectives in these areas, allows for the innovative use of key notions of cosmopolitanism and diversity as bridge-makers across different national, cultural and disciplinary traditions. The school consisted of three clusters, which focused on Populism and anti-cosmopolitanism in Europe today, Frames of War, and Legal Theory and Cosmopolitics.