Dissertation Defence: Mikki Stelder
Queering the Occupation: From Zionist Sexual Politics to Palestinian Decolonial-Queer Imaginaries ~Supervisor: Mireille Rosello
Queering the Occupation exposes a gap between the existing critical frameworks that discuss the role of gender and sexual politics in the context of Israel/Palestine and what it calls Palestinian anticolonial-queer critiques. Such critiques emerge from within Palestinian queer communities and offer novel perspectives on the Israel/Palestine crisis. The first part of Queering the Occupation examines the trajectory of Israel’s gay and lesbian movement from the late 1980s until the present in order to understand how a gay subjectivity emerged within the boundaries of the Zionist state. It looks at how gay rights and gay life are employed in Israel’s nation branding campaign Brand Israel. And, it analyzes the cultural, economic, and political impact of Israel’s gay tourism industry on Israel’s image globally. In the second part, Queering the Occupation examines critical and liberal responses to Israel’s use of sexuality and gender in its nation branding efforts. More specifically, it discerns how these responses determine the conditions of possibility for political action and the political imagination in and about Israel/Palestine in the present. It does so by engaging debates within scholarly, media, and activist contexts in Israel/Palestine, North America, and Europe, which discuss the Israeli state’s uses of sexual politics in the context of occupation. Importantly, Queering the Occupation provides insight into Palestinian anticolonial-queer critiques and decolonial-queer space-making practices that provide central conceptual interventions into how the Israel/Palestine crisis is assessed and understood both within Israel/Palestine and internationally. In doing so, it moves beyond conventional understandings of the Israel/Palestine crisis, which have thus far failed to bring social justice to that context.
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