Jasbir Puar

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Jasbir K. Puar
Alma materRutgers University (B.A.)
University of York (M.A.)
University of California (Ph.D.)
Known forQueer theory Race studies
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of California
San Francisco State University
New York University
Rutgers University
Thesis"Transnational Sexualities and Trinidad: Modern Bodies, National Queers" (1999)
Doctoral advisorNorma Alarcón
InfluencesMichel Foucault,[1] Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari

Jasbir K. Puar is a U.S.-based queer theorist and Professor and Graduate Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, where she has been a faculty member since 2000.[3] Her most recent book is The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability (2017). Puar is the author of award-winning Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (2007), which has been translated into Spanish and French and re-issued in an expanded version for its 10th anniversary (December 2017). She has written widely on South Asian disaporic cultural production in the United States, United Kingdom and Trinidad, LGBT tourism, terrorism studies, surveillance studies, biopolitics and necropolitics, disability and debilitation, theories of intersectionality, affect, and assemblage; animal studies and posthumanism, homonationalism, pinkwashing, and the Palestinian territories.

Academic career[edit]

Puar has an M.A. in Women's Studies from the University of York and completed her Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies at University of California at Berkeley in 1999.[4]

Terrorist Assemblages[edit]

In "Queer Times, Queer Assemblages", published in 2005, Puar analyzes the War on Terror as an assemblage of racism, nationalism, patriotism, and terrorism, suggesting that it is "already profoundly queer". Her focus is on terrorist corporealities in opposition to "normative patriot bodies", and she argues that "discourses of counterterrorism are intrinsically gendered, raced, sexualized, and nationalized". Through an analysis of the American response to the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse in 2004, she contends that contemporary discourses of Muslim sexuality only mask and reproduce an underlying belief in American exceptionalism. She also rearticulates the body of the suicide bomber as "a queer assemblage that resists queerness-as-sexual-identity", a force with the power to converge, implode, and rearrange time, space, and body. Finally, Puar focuses on the archetypal Sikh terrorist, turban and all, in order to posit that her examination of queerness as an assemblage calls attention to "epistemology in tandem with ontology".[5]

Puar draws from the "assemblage" approach developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.[6] This is a way of viewing social and political phenomena as a combination of biological and cultural factors. She critiques the deployment of homonationalism in the United States as a justification to violently implement the doctrine of American exceptionalism embodied in the War on Terror. The United States flaunts its supposedly liberal openness to homosexuality to secure its identity in contradistinction to sexual oppression in Muslim countries. This oppression serves as an excuse for the United States to “liberate” oppressed women and sexual deviants in these countries, simultaneously papering over sexual inequality in the United States. United States exceptionalism and homonationalism are mutually constitutive, blending discourses of American Manifest Destiny, racist foreign policy, and an urge to document the unknown (embodied in the terrorist) and conquer it through queering its identity, hence rendering it manageable and knowable.[5][7]

Puar's Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, published in October 2007, describes connections between contemporary "gay rights" discourse, the integration of gay people into consumerism, the ascendance of "whiteness", and Western imperialism and the war on terrorism. Puar argues that traditional heteronormative ideologies now find accompaniment from "homonormative" ideologies replicating the same hierarchical ideals concerning maintenance of dominance in terms related to race, class, gender, and nation-state, a set of ideologies she deems "homonationalism".[8] Some reviewers have associated with argument with the "queer Marxism" of Kevin Floyd.[9]


  • Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times[1] (2007), Durham: Duke University Press, ISBN 9780822341147; 10th Anniversary Edition (2017) Durham: Duke University Press ISBN 9780822371502; translated into French as: Homonationalisme. Politiques queers après le 11 Septembre (2012), Judy Minx (translator,), Paris: Editions Amsterdam, Maxime Cervulle, ISBN 9782354801076
  • "The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability", (2017), Duke University Press.


  1. ^ a b West, Lewis (4 December 2014). "Jasbir Puar: Regimes of Surveillance". Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cosmologics Magazine, Harvard Divinity School. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  2. ^ Puar, Jasbir (2016). "Jasbir K. Puar, Abridged CV". New Brunswick, New Jersey: www.jasbirpuar.com. Archived from the original on 25 February 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Puar, Jasbir". Womens-studies.rutgers.edu. 28 October 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Current Institutional Affiliation(s)". Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Queer Times, Queer Assemblages", Social Text 84-85, Vol. 23. Nos. 3-4, Fall-Winter 2005
  6. ^ Andrew Ryder, "‘The Function of Autonomy’: Félix Guattari and New Revolutionary Prospects." Salvage 2018. [1]
  7. ^ Puar, Jasbir (2013). "Rethinking Homonationalism". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 45 (2): 336–339. doi:10.1017/S002074381300007X.
  8. ^ "Jasbir K. Puar: Terrorist Assemblages : Homonationalism in Queer Times, October 2007". OutHistory. 2007. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  9. ^ Robert Nichols, Review of Terrorist Assemblages and The Reification of Desire. Law, Culture and the Humanities. April 16, 2010. [2]

Further reading[edit]

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