Sexuality as a standard of civilization: Historicizing (homo)colonial intersections of race, gender, and class

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Political Science Department

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Research Article

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International Studies Quarterly

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© The Author(s) (2019). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association. In recent years, acceptance and tolerance of homosexuality has become symbolic of Western liberal, social, and political progress. This has been noted in discussions on homonormativity, homonationalism, and homocolonialism. While some of these discussions have touched on the intersections between sexuality, race, gender, and class, this article argues that this relationship has been historically produced as a standard of civilization. It notes that the politics and governance of sexuality, and its intersections with race, gender, and class, have historical relevance in producing social and political exclusions. In building this argument, the article considers how the politics and governance of sexuality have maintained a “divided world,” from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first century, transforming from a hetero- to a homocolonial standard of civilization. It draws from a number of examples, from the nineteenth century to the contemporary period, using a diverse set of materials, including ethnographic research, fieldwork, and historical documents to explain temporal and geographic connections regarding the politics of sexuality.

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