M's Reviews > Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times

Terrorist Assemblages by Jasbir K. Puar
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's review
Jan 24, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: 2009, human-rights, gender-studies, theory, queer-theory
Read in April, 2009

Really enjoyed this. (Well, not enjoy in the sense that I enjoy the idea of torture, but---you know.)

Although I am still a little bit fuzzy on the whole idea of co-opting the American gay demographic to rally in "homonationalist" glory against foreign gay racial others, she makes cogent points about the intersectionality missing in this "homonationalist" population that I think is worth examining. Puar's analysis of the atrocities of Abu Ghraib are searing and unflinching, and I honestly could not put the book down in reading this chapter. And for as much as theory tends to bother me after a certain point, I was not bored with this, nor did I think it was absent of the tactile relevance I desperately hope for in reading theory.

HOWEVER (and this is a big however), I will say that although Puar makes an excellent case against the construction of and deployment of torture on alleged terrorist bodies, I did go into the book hoping she would balance the burden of America's flaws with the legitimacy of the presence of a terrorist threat. While she does not overtly state whether or not she recognizes this, I do think that in theorizing over people who commit atrocities (which is not to privilege American atrocities as justified) is a difficult task, especially with such extreme conflations of racism and homophobia tied to them. I do not mean to discredit Puar's arguments, but I wish she would have taken a more direct approach to telling her readers what a terrorist is, in the absence of this discredited discourse.

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04/20/2009 page 54
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