Jasbir Puar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jasbir K. Puar
Born 1967 (age 50–51)
Residence New Brunswick, New Jersey,[1] U.S.
Alma mater Rutgers University (B.A.)
University of York (M.A.)
University of California (Ph.D.)
Known for Queer theory
Scientific career
Institutions University of California
San Francisco State University
New York University
Rutgers University
Thesis "Transnational Sexualities and Trinidad: Modern Bodies, National Queers" (1999)
Doctoral advisor Norma Alarcón
Influences Michel Foucault[2]
Website www.jasbirkpuar.com

Jasbir K. Puar is a U.S.-based queer theorist who currently works as an associate professor in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University.[2][3] Puar is author of Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times.[2] 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 Israeli occupation of Palestine.

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]

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 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][6]

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".[7]

In her journal article, "Homonationalist Futurism: 'Terrorism' and (Other) Queer Resistance to Empire", Heike Schotten utilizes Puar's theoretical framework and conflates it with the theories of Lee Edelman to produce a model for thinking about racialized identities and resistance to the "sexual contures" of the United States Empire. Schotten posits that, when combined, Edelman and Puar's work serves as a crucial resource for "theorizing 'terrorism' and understanding it as an act of political resistance".[8]

View on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict[edit]

On February 3, 2016, Puar delivered a lecture at Vassar College, "Inhumanist Biopolitics: How Palestine Matters", in which she made several allegations about Israeli policy toward Palestine, and particularly Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Puar reportedly claimed that Israel had deliberate policies of "maiming" and "stunting" the Palestinian people as a means of biologically crippling the Palestinian population, debilitating its capacity to resist Israeli occupation while keeping them alive as workers or subjects of Israeli experimentation.[9]

In response to her speech, a former president of the University of California and a professor emeritus of history at Michigan State University accused Puar of "hatred of Jews and Israel" and "updating the medieval blood libel against Jews".[10] On the substance of her argument, Liel Leibovitz wrote:

"Why would Israel spare the lives of its foes? If it is indeed, as Puar repeatedly argues, a colonialist project, won’t it seek to emulate its predecessors and either destroy the indigenous people it was dispossessing, enslave them as cheap labor, or urge them to assimilate? Security and demographic considerations negate options two and three, which makes it very hard to understand, on Puar’s own terms, why and how Israel benefits from shooting to maim instead of to kill."[11]

Professor Puar received "threats of rape and murder".[12][13] Letters of support for Puar were issued by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel as well as by the Jewish Voice for Peace's Academic Advisory Council.[14]


  • Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times[2] (2007), Durham: Duke University Press, ISBN 9780822341147
  • Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times: 10th Anniversary Edition (2017) Durham: Duke University Press ISBN 9780822371502
    • Homonationalisme. Politiques queers après le 11 Septembre (2012), translated into French by Judy Minx, Paris: Editions Amsterdam, Maxime Cervulle, ISBN 9782354801076
  • "Nicaraguan Women, Resistance, and the Politics of Aid", in Haleh Afshar, ed., Women and Politics in the Third World, London: Routledge, 1996: 73-92.
  • "Transnational Sexualities: South Asian Trans/Nationalisms and Queer Diasporas", in David Eng and Alice Hom, eds., Q & A: Queer in Asian America, Philadelphia: Temple U.P., 1998: 405-422.
    • translated into German: "Transnationale sexualitäten. Südasiatische (Trans)Nation(alism)en und queere Diasporas", in Die Politik sexueller Räume Eds. Matthias Haase, Marc Siegel, and Michaela Wünsch, Berlin: b_books Verlag, 2005.
  • "Transnational Configurations of Desire: The Nation and its White Closets", in Matt Wray et al., eds., The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness, Durham: Duke University Press, 2001: 167-183.
  • "Transversal Circuits: Transnational Sexualities and Trinidad", in Lise Nelson and Joni Seager, eds., A Companion to Feminist Geography, London: Blackwell, 2004.
  • "Ich wäre lieber eine Cyborg als eine Göttin”: Intersektionalität, Assemblage und Affektpolitik", in Isabel Lorey, Roberto Nigro, and Gerald Raunig, eds., Inventionen, Zurich: diaphanes, 2011: 253-270.
  • "Citation and Censorship: The Politics of Talking About the Sexual Politics of Palestine/Israel", in The Imperial University, eds. Sunaina Maira and Piya Chatterjee, University of Minnesota Press, 2011.


Puar has received multiple awards:[1]

  • 2007: Association for Asian American Studies Cultural Studies Book Award for Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times
  • 2011: Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award, The Graduate School, Rutgers University.
  • 2012. Northeast Universities Association of Graduate Schools Teaching Award, Honorable Mention
  • 2013: Robert Sutherland Visitorship Award, Queens University
  • 2013: Modern Languages Association GL/Q Caucus Michael Lynch Service Award

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 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. 
  2. ^ a b c d West, Lewis (4 December 2014). "Jasbir Puar: Regimes of Surveillance". Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cosmologics Magazine, Harvard Divinity School. Retrieved 28 February 2016. 
  3. ^ "Puar, Jasbir". Womens-studies.rutgers.edu. 28 October 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  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. ^ Puar, Jasbir. "Rethinking Homonationalism". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 
  7. ^ "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. 
  8. ^ Schotten, Heike (March 2015). "Homonationalist Futurism: "Terrorism" and (Other) Queer Resistance to Empire". New Political Science. doi:10.1080/07393148.2014.957910. 
  9. ^ Ziva Dahl, “Vassar Jewish Studies Sponsors Demonization of Israel … AgainObserver.com, February 9, 2016
  10. ^ Mark G. Yudof and Ken Waltzer, "Majoring in Anti-Semitism at Vassar", The Wall Street Journal, February 17, 2016.
  11. ^ Leibovitz, Liel
  12. ^ Executive Council of Rutgers AAUP-AFT. "In Defense of Professor Jasbir Puar's Academic Freedom". rutgersaaup.org. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  13. ^ Adam Clark, "Rutgers union backs prof facing 'death' threats over speech", NJ.com, March 3, 2016
  14. ^ "Letter in support of Professor Jasbir Puar regarding right-wing attacks on her recent talk at Vassar College | US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel". www.usacbi.org. Retrieved 2016-05-09. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]