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Let's Read "Terrorist Assemblages"! A Phenomenological Review: Chapter One

This is the third part in my series of reflections on Jasbir K. Puar's Terrorist Assemblages.  The first part can be found here and the second here.

The first chapter of Terrorist Assemblages is entitled "the sexuality of terrorism" and this immediately fills me with slight misgiving.  While I agree that, especially in light of this book's subject matter, it makes sense to examine "discourses of sexuality (and their attendant anxieties)––heterosexuality, homosexuality, queerness, metrosexuality, alternative and insurgent sexuality," I am not at all convinced that without these discourses, as Puar claims, "the twin mechanisms of normalization and banishment that distinguish the terrorist from the patriot would cease to properly behave." (37) To my mind an imperialist project accumulates particular and secondary ideologies and discursive frameworks that are always contingent upon its social-historical context––that is, contingent upon the way imperi…

Let's Read "Terrorist Assemblages"! A Phenomenological Review: Introduction

The following is part of a "Let's Read" series where I plan to blog, slowly and probably interspersed with other posts, about my reflections of Jasbir K. Puar's Terrorist Assemblages. This first of these posts, concerning the Preface and an explanation as to what this series is, can be found here.  Today I'm reflecting on the Introduction.



The fact that the Introduction is titled "homonationalism and biopolitics", combined with what Puar has already claimed about "biopolitics" in the Preface, is somewhat worrisome for a historical materialist who finds the entire category of "biopolitics" suspect.  Let's be clear: there is indeed something about the Foucauldian concept of biopolitics that is politically useful––it's even useful in the way that Agamben mobilizes it––but at the end of the day this strikes me as an avoidance of a material analysis that can provide something more significant than a reflection on discursive operat…

Let's Read "Terrorist Assemblages"! A Phenomenological Review: Preface

This is going to be the first in a series (though not sequential, and will probably happen slowly between other posts) of posts where I reflect on Jasbir K. Puar's Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Timesas I read it.  Less of a review and more of an impressionistic reading, this series is inspired by the "Let's Read" series' on the ronanwills blog where the author would read popular fantasy/sci-fi books and reflect, often quite hilariously, on each chapter.  When I first read some of these posts I thought to myself, "I should do something similar with a work of popular theory."  I was pretty sure, however, that it would not be as funny…

In any case, I finally decided to try this format out with Terrorist Assemblages.  Over five years ago I picked up Puar's book because I knew it would be important; I guessed some of its concepts and subject matter would eventually become standard within radical theory circles, and though I was correct I…