Queer Questions

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As rights claims on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity occupy an increasingly prominent place in international politics, it seems clear that the long-running Woman Question has been supplemented by a set of variously articulated “queer questions.” Drawing on postcolonial, feminist and queer theory, and readings of queer literary and cinematic texts from India and Iran, this article explores moments of resonance, intersection and tension between the Woman Question and queer questions. It argues, first, that contemporary queer questions echo the preoccupations of the Woman Question even as they are uncannily prefigured by it; second, that these questions have been mutually disruptive of one another, so that queer questions are not simply a rerun of the Woman Question; and third, that differences between these questions are problematically flattened out in projections of shared futurity articulated in the abstract universality of “human rights.” Navigating the shared pasts, fraught presents and imagined futures of Woman and queer questions, the article brings queer critiques of temporality to bear on the concerns of postcolonial queer activism. It elucidates opportunities and challenges for alliance between the subjectivities interpellated by these various questions. In addition, it asks how the proliferation of new subjectivities under the sign of “queer” troubles notions of universal human rights.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199–217
JournalInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 May 2014


  • Woman Question
  • Homosexual Question
  • feminism
  • queer
  • trans*
  • postcolonial
  • universalism
  • temporality
  • nostalgia
  • futurity


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