Queer Pedagogies in Inter/Transnational Contexts

Both before and after marriage equality was officially written into U.S. federal law, debates around gay marriage and the “gay question” in contemporary American cultural date back to the late 1990s and early 2000s. The major question then, engaged the concept of the “slippery slope” and the fears surrounding the future of heterosexual marriage—with its attention to and demand for the continuation of the dominant heteronormative narrative of family and appropriate love. Due to the global influence of U.S. rhetoric and media, conversations about marriage equality and queer lifestyles immediately called into question what some European countries had previously done to recognize same-sex couples while concurrently reminding the U.S. that their stance on marriage equality was far from progressive. Therefore the U.S. was forced to face the fact that it was not providing its citizenry with basic human rights, and thus in many ways, it was “behind” the proverbial times—at least in a Western context. However when considering the reality of what queers face in locations such as Turkey combined with the almost foreign-like experiences of queers in places likes Indiana and even Newark, New Jersey, one quickly learns that simply because the U.S. promotes an idea does not mean that the rest of the world, or even the rest of the continental U.S. will follow suit. This paper will investigate the tensions and ambivalence produced when discussing marriage equality and queer politics in inter/transnational contexts. I will specifically address teaching queer theory and literature in addition to films like John Water’s Pink Flamingoes (1970) in Turkey (a secular Muslim country). I will then compare how teaching similar topics in Evansville, Indiana, simultaneously as the state itself was having major debates surrounding marriage equality, complicate notions of acceptance, tolerance and progressive U.S. ideologies. Finally, I will reflect on teaching queerly at various NJ intuitions such as Princeton University, Rutgers University, The College of New Jersey, and Essex County College both pre- and post-marriage equality’s official approval. The goal of this paper is to provide a broad comparative analysis of how queer pedagogies translate to activism in local, regional, and inter/transnational contexts while also highlighting how location and community perspectives influence how, where, and if queers live.


Part of panel Queer Bodies in Inter/Transnational Contexts
October 2, 2016, 14:15–16:00