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CfH Lectures

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As the recent critical scholarship on homonationalism (Puar 2007) and gay imperialism (Haritaworn et. al 2008) has shown, (the language of) ‘gay rights’ has become allied with contemporary ways to narrate national and ‘civilizational’ identities in new and problematic ways. This alliance occurs on the level of state policies, the public debate and the LGBTQ movements themselves. The paper explores the ‘secular nostalgia’ involved in the rise of homonationalism, through looking at the relationship between gender and sexual politics on the one hand, and the affirmation and transformations of secular regimes in Europe on the other, in an era of a ‘fundamental fear’ (Sayyid 1997) of Islam. Bracke thinks through examples from the Dutch case, as well as screen fragments of the video-essay Pink Camouflage (Bracke 2009).

This lecture was given within the framework of the 2011 School of Critical Theory organized by the Centre for the Humanities in Utrecht. The programme was titled ‘G-local Cosmopolitanism: The Social Responsibility of the Artists, the Academics, and the Media’, and offered trans-national and interdisciplinary approaches drawn from the humanities, social sciences, law, philosophy and international relations. Its focus on the development of cross-national European perspectives in these areas, allows for the innovative use of key notions of cosmopolitanism across different national, cultural and disciplinary traditions. The school consisted of three clusters, which focused on Cosmopolitanism and the social responsibility of the Artists, Cosmopolitanism and the social responsibility of the Academics, and Cosmopolitanism and the social responsibility of the Media.