In “Settler Homonationalism,” Scott Morgensen begins by analyzing an argument from another literary critic: “In Terrorist Assemblages Jasbir Puar argues that the U.S. war on terror engen- ders among U.S. queer subjects a homonormative nationalism, or “homonationalism.” Puar examines how, by appealing to or being embraced by the antiterrorist state, U.S. queers appear as a form of U.S. exceptionalism” (105). Morgensen utilizes a Foucault-like approach to examine the racial and sexual populations of terrorists and the connected colonialist discourses that are present in studying terrorist identities. Morgensen utilizes this discussion of terrorists to make a claim about terror being a context where U.S. queer subjects become homonationalist. He uses Puar’s “queer as regulatory” stance over other queer populations which they also terrorize argument as a starting point from which he expands and reappropriates some of Puar’s contentions along with some of his own about the relationship between queer studies and native studies.
Morgensen argues that queer homonationalism is the natural effect of U.S. queer modernities forming during the conquest of native peoples and their homelands. He concludes that colonialism becomes sexualized in the United States and it is a “historical root of the biopolitics of modern sexuality” in U.S. culture and thought. Morgensen’s project calls for us to utilize Puar’s arguments to take into account Native studies and to focus on settler colonialism when identifying racial or national politics in sexual modernity. Morgensen offers: “My conclusions invite further questions for theorizing homonationalism and settlement today” (107). Moregensen charges that scholars must research past and present acts of colonialism as a “contradictory and contested process,” which both encourages and breaks down homonationalism. Going forward, we must focus on how settlement shapes queer formations and we should analyze the spaces where sexuality and colonialism intersect.
I wonder whether you had any thoughts on how we could answer Morgensen’s challenge by looking differently at the texts we have read this semester. How and in what ways can we see the dynamic of settler homonationalism operating in the foundational works of queer theory we have engaged?
“The terrorizing sexual colonization of Native peoples was a historical root of the biopolitics of modern sexuality in the United States. Colonists interpreted diverse practices of gender and sexuality as signs of a general primitivity among Native peoples” (106).
The first thing that came to mind for me was Foucault’s History of Sexuality. Since I wrote about Volumes One and Two for one of my synthesis papers, I thought about how studies of sexuality like Foucault’s enforces a collective concept of sexuality on a specific culture at a particular moment in history. By exploring the tensions present in settler homonationalism, we begin to analyze the spaces between and within white colonial sexuality and native colonized sexuality. It also forces us to confront the idea that through acquiring peoples and their lands, we enact a specific theory of sexuality on “othered” populations.