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Critique Humanities Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

Monster, Terrorist, Fag: The War on Terrorism and the Production of Docile Patriots

By Jasbir K. Puar, Amit Rai, 2002

How are gender and sexuality central to the current “war on terrorism”? This question opens on to others: How are the technologies that are being developed to combat “terrorism” departures from or transformations of older technologies of heteronormativity, white supremacy, and nationalism? In what way do contemporary counterterrorism practices deploy these technologies, and how do these practices and technologies become the quotidian framework through which we are obliged to struggle, survive, and resist? Sexuality is central to the creation of a certain knowledge of terrorism, specifically that branch of strategic analysis that has entered the academic mainstream as “terrorism studies.” This knowledge has a history that ties the image of the modern terrorist to a much older figure, the racial and sexual monsters of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Further, the construction of the pathologized psyche of the terroristmonster enables the practices of normalization, which in today’s context often means an aggressive heterosexual patriotism.

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