To celebrate LGBTQ + History Month, we asked several academics and former E-IR staff: Do you think the IR discipline has taken important steps to incorporate LGBTQ + perspectives, research, ideas, and stories equally conceptually and institutionally? What could be done better? Below you will find answers from Melanie Richter-Montpetit, Ibtisam Ahmed, Markus Thiel, Ioana Fotache, Momin Rahman, Anthony J. Langlois, Jamie Hagen and Dean Cooper-Cunningham.
Dr. Melanie Richter-Montpetit is Lecturer in International Security at the University of Sussex and Director of the Center for Advanced International Theory (CAIT). Check out her interview with E-IR Here.
LGBT and queer IR research has grown tremendously in recent years. I am delighted that the LGBT / Queer scholarship has not only flourished intellectually, but has also made some important institutional advances overall: This includes a steadily growing number of LGBT / Queer IR books published by universities and leading trade press, and we can now find LGBT / queer articles published in IR magazines, even in some of the most popular magazines – I can barely keep up with all of the new publications and that’s really exciting! The ISA LGBTQA caucus has been an important place in building a community. Over the past five years, the caucus has not only grown in number, but has brought together a greater diversity of scholars and scholars and has become a vibrant hub for developing transnational research networks and mentoring early career researchers and for providing a supportive social Room for queer and trans scientists.
However, given these important advances, it is striking how little institutional gains have been made in the discipline for transgender research and researchers. In particular, to address the disparity in institutional profits for LGBT / queer scholarships, we must expect longstanding transmisogyny. This is not “just” the past. With the dramatic escalation of white nationalism around the world, fellow academics, including prominent senior IR scholars, have waged a vicious campaign against trans women, including very publicly on social media.
If we are to seriously celebrate and support LGBT / queer scholars and scholarships this LGBT month, we need to delve into the professional and material cultures of IR. The dramatic rise in precarious employment and the increasing attacks on academic freedom inside and outside the academy (also under headings such as “woke up” and “break culture”) tighten the university’s already profound hierarchies as a place of learning and the creation of knowledge and employment . In addition to a general deterioration in working conditions, the increasing effects of precariousness and attacks on academic freedom are worsening for scholars who have been repeatedly oppressed, especially blacks, indigenous people, lower caste, Muslims and women / females / trans from color colleagues. Undoubtedly, these developments have fueled existing relationships between material dependence and the possibility of abuse, created structural incentives not to rock (too much) the boat of existing orthodoxy in both mainstream and critical IR, and led brilliant and dedicated (LGBT / Queer) IR scholars to leave science.
In taking stock of the important institutional gains that LGBT / queer IR research has made in recent years, it is important to consider what Malinda Smith (2018: 55) called “diversification of whiteness,” which means that the neoliberal academy responds to calls to combat institutional racism by reformulating the “problem” as one of the general lack of “diversity” and addressing it through the inclusion of white women and white queer people. Given the (uneven) gains made by LGBT / queer research and researchers in IR, it is imperative to reckon with how these advances are linked to “diversification of whiteness” at both institutional inclusion and knowledge framework levels (Alison) Howell and I will discuss this in more detail in an upcoming article.
Ibtisam Ahmed is a PhD student at the School of Politics and IR at the University of Nottingham. Check out his posts on E-IR Here.
I think there are two different ways of looking at this question. From the perspective of a simple comparison with the past – yes, there has been absolute progress in this area. Commitment to queer theory in all disciplines has generally increased, and this has strengthened both queer theory and the issues with which it interacts. In the case of IR, this has led to an overall broadening of perspectives, especially because the central tenet of queer theory is that marginalized voices must be actively centered and raised. As a discipline, IR has been part of a major global push towards greater visibility, discussion and solidarity, and this should be welcomed.
However, there is also a clear gap in the way IR practically supports queer realities of life. While the academic and conceptual acceptance of queer perspectives has been phenomenal – I would add, however, that it is not perfect – little or no effort has been made to equip practitioners, policymakers, and governments with the same openness. Discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ + community have increased in various contexts. In countries where homosexuality is still illegal, such as For example, in my own home in Bangladesh, violence and social prejudice have increased, which the state implicitly encourages. Allegedly progressive democracies like India and Great Britain have systemic transphobia anchored legally and, firstly, institutionally. Several right-wing governments like those in Brazil and Poland have restricted queer rights, and 2021 began with news that Malaysia will pursue stricter censorship and sanctions against queer rights groups.
This reflects problematic tokenization of queer problems. They are almost a “trending” thing to use to support and strengthen credentials, especially when remembering occasions like History Month, Pride, and IDAHoBiT. Unfortunately, the community remains an expendable negotiating chip – useful one day for better press, discarded the next for awkward diplomacy and external relations. The solution is pretty simple at its core. Queer communities and voices must be centered just as queer theory has made it possible to highlight their perspectives in the academy. And I specifically use the plural communities here because queer experiences and politics are different. When I contributed to the E-IR book Sexuality and Translation in PoliticsI was extremely happy about the international scope of duties and the different voices, as we are faced with so many different challenges and solutions. If the same focus and platform are given in the practice of IR, including a commitment to protect the voices that speak, I see the possibility of a bright future. To do this, those with privileges who want to call themselves allies have to do the job. Alliance, after all, is an act, not an identity. I hope these reflections in LGBTQ + History Month inspire you to action.
(A note to readers – I understand that queer has a controversial history in the Anglo-centric world, but offers a more nuanced and comprehensive translation of non-Western identities than the acronym LGBTQ +. It speaks to my realities as well as those of breadth and wealth science on the subject.)
Markus Thiel is Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at Florida International University. Check out his previous posts on E-IR Here.
As with most academic disciplines, IR has been slow and reluctant to open up to the epistemological diversity of its theoretical approaches. Feminist thinking used to be incorporated into IR discipline as LGBTQ + studies or queer theory, but it usually stays outside of the standard disciplinary canon. Many textbooks on IR theory are likely to contain feminism and postcolonial theories, but not LGBTQ + or SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) – open access International Relations Theory Fortunately, the E-IR book does this. And just as feminism is still somewhat cut off from mainstream IR and internally divided, LGBTQ + perspectives are also being marginalized and generally divided between more empirical LGBT studies and more challenging, more transgressive queer theoretical work. It is difficult to determine whether the recent explicit focus on including greater scientific diversity has helped scholars working in these fields, or whether they are in competition with other equally pressing priorities of the race and the global South. To illustrate this dilemma, the final board of candidates for the Executive Committee of the International Studies Association was more ethnically and globally diverse than ever, but was criticized for its imbalance between the sexes.
Institutionally, LGBTQ + studies can be viewed as a peripheral research interest that cannot be considered, published, or promoted, or they can be viewed as an overly personal issue and therefore lack of supposed standards for “objectivity” that are still the norm in IR. These considerations make it difficult for scientists to maintain tenure or to engage more broadly with other researchers in the field. Therefore, to continue integrating these underrepresented areas of focus, it is important to change our discipline from within, walking the academic tightrope between conforming to disciplinary standards and guidelines and critically transforming those same guidelines. The past few years have been fruitful for this emerging field of study, with increased student interest and high academic productivity and excellence. However, more inclusive principles and practices within higher education institutions are still required for LGBTQ + scholars to thrive without marginalization or academic tokenism.
Ioana Fotache is a PhD student in Gender Studies at Nagoya University. Check out their E-IR article Here.
At first, I’m not sure what “my field” is. I started in Gender Studies and focused on straight literature with a queer approach. To be honest, this field has experimented an intense shift towards queer as non-LGBTQ while also excluding non-Cishet sexualities from female-centered approaches. At one point, “queer” became such a broad term that it encompassed too many things to leave room for “normal” LGBTQ people. For example, the pioneering approaches based on psychoanalysis were already unsuitable for dealing with trans people. The further the field went without addressing these issues, the more it got into an LGBTQ exclusion spiral. It has become very difficult to reach out to real queer people and live in this environment, especially if they are not binary or trans. I feel like we haven’t moved since Jay Prosser (2003) criticized the fundamental exclusion of trans and non-binary people from queer theory, while maintaining his conclusion that “the idea of it still pleases “.
I switched to sociology to start over and, oddly enough, found it freer to include a wider variety of lives and sexualities if you found the right professor. But this too depends on your type of sociology. For example, I think that quantitative approaches are still not included because of their nature. Humans can rarely give the answers a sociologist needs, in terms that are easily quantifiable and pattern-generating. So much work has been done to get them involved, but it can still be difficult, and I fear that many would still shy away from addressing LGBTQ issues in their seminars, preferring to “let people do it.” who concentrate more on this topic ”. . In a conservative setting, this easily leads to LGBTQ lives being completely excluded for methodological reasons.
In my country, Romania, the government proposed last year to abolish “gender ideology” in schools and universities and to effectively remove gender studies, queer studies and transsexuals from public discourse and public education. While I was pleasantly surprised to see the backlash, I couldn’t help but notice how the “T-Word” was banned from most academic venues, which only focused on queer theory as a literary approach or freedom of expression focused. It was smart, but it also felt weird to see this form of discourse so naturally, and a bit hurtful to realize that I, too, would tell people that it’s about free speech and sexual health, not about the government trying to forbid my existence. I also had to keep in mind that most of the population (including academia) would not have minded if the law had passed. For them, “gender ideology” is something that doesn’t exist and the law wouldn’t have changed that. How much can the ivory tower change? I am not sure.
But back to the field … Of course there is a multitude of papers that deal with LGBTQ problems and see infinitely wider and more diverse approaches. However, I have carefully chosen my words to discuss my research in Japan, and especially Romania, although I am sure that this is considered boring and boring in the West. It goes without saying that there is still more to be done. It wouldn’t be science if it wasn’t. I just think that “the field” is initially a concept that is difficult to imagine. I have chosen my words carefully to discuss my research in Japan, and especially Romania, although I am sure that would be considered boring and boring in the West.
Momin Rahman is Professor of Sociology at Trent University. Check out his E-IR items Here.
Although it’s a month in LGBTQ history, for me right now our future is at the fore, and that’s why I think of early career queer scholars and especially these queers of color. This is partly because the ISA Queer Caucus recently launched a mentoring program that I am involved in and partly because I am working through union representation and within the ISA to expand justice, diversity and inclusion across the board Want to work towards a profession. In particular, the protests against the murder of George Floyd in the United States have had an impact on higher education and sparked reflections on how systemic racism works in our institutions. It is good to remember that many of the IR-facing queers are racialized which contributes to their exclusion from the profession. I will also engage in shameless, deliberate encouragement of weirdness, beginning with encouragement to read the posts in the Oxford Handbook of Global LGBT and Sexual Diversity Politics, edited by you with Mike Bosia and Sandy McEvoy, both stalwarts of the ISA’s LGBTQ + caucus. While by no means definitive, the various contributions cover a wide regional spectrum as well as important analytical questions to understand the current state of global sexual diversity. In addition to range and depth, in putting the chapters together we have deliberately tried to encourage queer scholars who deal with queer issues. We should all be working towards equity, but I want to argue here that it’s not just about statistical inclusion – a fair correlation between available pipelines and safe workforce – but also intellectual relevance and renewal. I suggest that sexuality studies be an area of research that illustrates this relationship between the politics of presence and research dynamics.
I’m an outsider in IR, with a background in sociology, but studying sexuality keeps me an outsider in each of the disciplines I deal with. In the time of my own academic career (I think I’m 104 years old in gay, but who matters?), The study of sexuality has grown from a marginal pursuit to a legitimate, if not yet fully established, area of academic research and research Teaching developed. Public discussions about sexuality are now the order of the day, taking place in a variety of areas ranging from rights, violence, health and education to the very few. However, this meaning is almost always controversial, both in the advanced capitalist societies of the global north and the global south. For example, the recent global wave of same-sex marriage legislation has not been reached without organized opposition from social groups in national or international contexts, often embedded in broader policies of gender “ideology”. The current attempt to establish SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression) as a human rights issue at the United Nations (UN) has met with similar opposition, and has done so within the EU and the Commonwealth. Sexuality should therefore be a legitimate empirical concern within the IR, but it is also more than that, it is a fundamental conceptual and methodological challenge.
At the center of the many controversies over non-normative sexualities is a struggle over “traditional” and “normal” expectations of gender differences and hierarchies that work within and between national cultures and are usually based on biological, naturalistic understandings of sexual identity. This means that critical conceptualizations of sexuality remain revolutionary in that they require a thorough one Reorientation our way of thinking; a departure from common sense, the assumed normality of sex as a natural biological part of our human existence, which anchors our sexual behavior and our identity and thus leads to inevitable political conflicts between a “normal” majority and a disruptive minority. Moreover, questioning this essentialism is only a starting point, since unpacking the political meaning of sexuality is a thoroughly interdisciplinary and intersectional task. Look over the contributions to the Oxford Handbook and you will see that the various authors deal with questions of embodiment, identities as hierarchies of the norm, and abnormal, irreducible interfaces of gender, racialization and class. These topics alone are based on theoretical and methodological approaches derived from women’s studies, queer studies, literary analyzes, sociology and postcolonial studies. Furthermore, the contributions in the context of the IR also emphasize that we need to understand the contemporary politics of sexuality within the basic structures of modernity – particularly capitalism, colonialism and globalization – and how these have influenced the way we are produce legitimate knowledge about sexual identities and how we regulate them through social and ideological means as well as through state action. Indeed, the empirical global divide on homosexuality cannot be explained or challenged without a nuanced and complex understanding of these factors, which requires frameworks that come from outside the “core” IR permeated by positivist epistemology. The study of sexuality is often an empirical journey through the “known unknowns” and sometimes the “unknown unknowns”, but not a methodological “unknown” as we have ways of research and thinking that evolve through the productive engagement of a variety of disciplines to have.
This requirement means that those who conduct sexuality studies bring in an outsider’s perspective, but one that sees Moresees widerand possibly brings with it a “broader objectivity” (Harding, 2015) by productively reforming and renewing a “core discipline”. We bring more to IR than IR within us, and that potential alone should be a reason to increase equity and diversity within the profession by understanding that “outsider” problems and those who explore them are intellectuals in any discipline Dynamism and renewal give curriculum.
Take pride in the scope and breadth of our research, and remember that by your presence you bring the necessary renewal and challenge for a discipline. For those of us privileged and secure in our positions, we should realize that we have the power to “see” this advantage in the outsider and bring it within to maintain it our Ability to innovate and relevance.
Dr. Anthony J. Langlois is Associate Professor of International Relations at Flinders University. Check out his interview with E-IR Here.
I think there is more LGBTQ + presence in the discipline today, but my answer to the question asked is, “Who does the work here?” If important steps have been taken, I think they are less “out of the discipline” than by scholars who have either followed a strong (often personal) interest and found, within or outside the usual round of publications and conferences, or because of openings, the frustrations and dilemmas arising from the lack of an opening. At this point, people put pressure on them until they got through (which can be very difficult of course). In both cases, it was not the discipline that did it, but those who seek space to share their work and come up with different, challenging, controversial ideas. I think many would acknowledge that “the discipline” was usually not that interested and that the sharing (and even the creation) of the work necessarily took place elsewhere.
My own experience was shaped by opportunities that scientists had before me, sharing openings and possibilities, and being an example of how to contribute. I think it’s critically important that this kind of collegial collaboration and opportunity creation is something we all do as soon as we gain a foothold in some form. What could be done better? My interest here would be on how we include marginalized, excluded, critical, and nonconformist voices (all of which IR have poor track records with) – and being self-critical about this: LGBTQ + perspectives that continue to focus on such homonormative goals – labeled as “equal marriage”, don’t cut it. There are much more pressing issues for global queers. We have to challenge the discipline, not adapt to it. Given that “the discipline” is inhospitable to radical emancipatory approaches, I don’t expect it to do much better than it does now because of its characteristic orientation. However, I hope that those of us who are in their forms and processes can use our privilege space to create more space for this type of work.
Jamie Hagen is Lecturer in International Relations at Queen’s University in Belfast, where she is the founding co-director of the Center for Gender in Politics. Read her interview with E-IR Here.
I am grateful for the work of feminist and queer scholars who are creating more space for research on how sexuality is also important to understanding safety and understanding IR in general. It enabled me to get hired as someone who was in the US and UK labor markets in 2019 with an explicit focus on queer security studies and questioning a binary approach to gender in peace and security.
I always encourage students to ask themselves, “Who are you researching for?” As someone who views queering as directly related to knowledge based on queer communities, trans experiences, and survival outside the state, I see the need to do a better job in the discipline and academy in general to queer and to assist trans people with this research. If cis and straight people want to do this research, find ways to collaborate with and nurture those in queer and transnational communities in meaningful ways, such as: B. Co-authorship, joint research projects, and long-term slow research that can shift and adapt to meaningful results. This is hard work, but we have to insist on what such an extractive and violent practice of knowledge production in the academy can be.
There is also a need to develop an anti-racist and a decolonial approach to the inclusion of queer theory in the IR. This also applies to how we as a discipline think about LGBTIQ + perspectives and research in addition to sexuality stories. There is still a very white, westernized narrative of sexuality, queer theory and queer liberation in the IR that doesn’t reflect the complexities of queer history, queer organization and exciting visions for queer futures. I am confident that as a white lesbian I can better stay here with this work. It’s not uncommon for me to meet queer students who say to me, “Thank you for being out there doing this job. I’ve never had an openly queer teacher. “How many people have been disciplined from the IR for focusing on queer research, being queer, and questioning the centrality of white, heterosexual, patriarchal knowledge? This is a real loss to sit with as we ponder where we are now and where we are going in the discipline.
Dean Cooper-Cunningham is a PhD student at the University of Copenhagen. Check out his previous posts on E-IR Here.
To answer this I would like to repeat some insightful words from Toni Haastrup, who replied to a similar question about race and IR: “We too are the discipline of IR”. No matter how hard the IR fought to keep queer off the agenda – be it through explicit disciplinary border police practices such as hiring, screening and funding, or through silence or mere ignorance of the politics of this “apolitical”, “personal”, “private” ‘Matter of (may I say it?) Sex – it failed. Queer IR and Global LGBT studies have made important contributions to research into international politics, particularly with regard to systems of power and oppression. Queer People and Queer Scholars are in the IR. We present and attend conferences. We produce knowledge. We publish in IR branches. And we challenge hegemonic, institutionalized discourses on international politics and international power games. However, I still cannot answer the interview question (above) with a resounding “yes”, as that would be a complete lie. Wishful thinking maybe.
In terms of properly addressing and dealing with LGBTQ + perspectives, research, ideas and stories, IR has nowhere near done enough. Feminist IR scholars have done an excellent job showing how gender influences world politics, structures all politics, is a power structure, an organizational category, and that the personal is international. Gender affects all of us and limits or authorizes everything we do. Die feministische Arbeit wird im IR zu Recht ernst genommen, aber dies geschah durch mühsame akademische Arbeit so vieler herausragender Wissenschaftler, denen ich intellektuell verpflichtet bin. Das Gleiche gilt nicht für queere oder LGBT-Arbeiten im IR. Es herrscht immer noch Stille um die Frage des Geschlechts (der Qualität) in dem, was manche als „Mainstream-IR“ bezeichnen. Die Politik des (nicht / akzeptablen, ab / normalen) Geschlechts ist entscheidend für das Verständnis von Imperialismus, Krieg, Massengräueltaten, Terrorismus, globaler Gesundheit, Souveränität, Sicherheit, Menschenrechten, Außenpolitik, Nationalismus, Staatsbildung, Geopolitik und Soziales Bewegungen. Und doch wird queere und LGBT-Arbeit oft übersehen.
Wir können nicht über den Zweiten Weltkrieg und den Holocaust schreiben, ohne die Homophobie der Nazis und die Vernichtung so vieler seltsamer Menschen in Konzentrationslagern zu verstehen. Wie können wir den Zweiten Weltkrieg richtig verstehen, ohne seine sexualisierte Politik anzuerkennen, dass ein großer Teil der genozidalen Gewalt der Nazis sexualisiert wurde und auf der Säuberung der Schwulen beruhte? Und doch tut IR oft. Wir können die globale AIDS-Krise, die Pandemie, nicht verstehen, ohne die Homophobie und den Rassismus zu untersuchen, die der mörderischen Untätigkeit der Weltregierungen zugrunde liegen, die so viele Menschen aufgrund ihres „unnatürlichen“ Sexualverhaltens sterben ließen, das AIDS als „göttliche Vergeltung“ für schwulen Sex bezeichnete. Und doch tut IR oft. In der Tat wirft die AIDS-Krise eine grundlegende, kritische Frage nach unserem Verständnis von Völkermord und Massengräueltaten auf: Untätigkeit, absichtlich oder nicht, eine Regierung schuldig machen? Wir können die russische Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik auch nicht verstehen, ohne ihre Verfassung von Europa und dem Westen als eine Senkgrube der Seltsamkeit, als „Gayropa“ und als Russlands zivilisatorische Andere zu betrachten. Und doch ignoriert IR oft die Präsenz von Sex in der internationalen Politik. Wenn wir die internationale Sexualpolitik übersehen, fehlt uns ein wesentlicher Teil der Funktionsweise und der Machtkämpfe in der internationalen Politik. Wie ich an anderer Stelle schrieb, ist es nicht länger akzeptabel zu sagen: „Ich stelle nicht die Geschlechterfrage, die Rasse oder die Sexualität Frage ‘, weil sie in die internationale Politik eingebettet sind. Um die berühmten Worte von Cynthia Enloe wiederzugeben, müssen wir nicht nur fragen, wo die Frauen sind, sondern wo die Schwulen? Zur Vorsicht: Während wir möglicherweise besser in der Lage sind, L / G / B-Perspektiven und -Historien im IR zu sehen, zu hören und zu nutzen, scheitern wir an unserer Auseinandersetzung mit trans * -Perspektiven und -Historien. Wir müssen es besser machen.
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