Strand 10

Citizenship, Nationalism(s) and Racism(s) 

Coordinators:  Angeliki Sifaki, Newcastle University; Elia A.G. Arfini, University of Milan and CRAAAZI; Pauline Stoltz, Aalborg University; Charlène Calderaro, University of Lausanne. 

→ abstracts to be sent to:, 

Citizenship is about the relations between individuals and political communities – institutionalised in cities, states, regional institutions, such as the European Union, or global ones, such as the United Nations. Citizenship is essential for our ideas about national and human rights. Claims for gender equality, recognition of marginalized sexualities and social justice are central aims of democratic processes in the nexus between the local and the global. This also implies that citizenship is a contested field, in which politicians, activists and other actors constantly struggle over issues relating to gender, sexuality and racism in ever-changing political landscapes. During the past twenty years, we have witnessed both how feminist and queer activists have raised issues about a de-politicising of their struggles because of the institutionalization of feminist and queer concerns, raising controversial questions about national(ist) politics of inclusion and exclusion. Amongst others, European states have witnessed a rise of homo- and femo-nationalisms, producing new forms of sexual and gendered citizenship in controversial politics of belonging.

Specifically, homonationalism, as introduced by Jasbir Puar (2007/2017), refers to the incorporation of the language of gay and queer rights in nationalist and patriotic discourses. This incorporation has secured particular racial (white) and class (middle-upper) privileges for only a minority of queer subjects, segregating and disqualifying a whole population of sexual and racial others. At the same time, it has strengthened xenophobic and Islamophobic dicourses and practices which portray, mainly Muslim, populations as “sexually backward” and enemies of sexual rights. In a similar vein, the concept of femonationalism, as introduced by Sara Farris (2017), captures the use of gender equality in anti-immigration policies and discourses in a convergence between far-right parties, neoliberal governments and some prominent feminist and femocrats. These actors promote nationalist and racist policies in the name of women’s rights. Both homo- and femonationalist rhetorics are based on the principle that non-Western, and especially Muslim cultures, are incompatible with “progress” seen as a specifically European trait and value within Western “sexual democracies” (Fassin 2006).

The aim of this strand is to engage with research around the reconfigurations of (sexual) citizenship and the political uses of gender equality and queer rights rhetorics, especially with regards to “the progressive West” and the Others. We are particularly interested in intersectional, transnational, decolonizing, postcolonial and queer approaches to citizenship and human rights claims in our attempt to understand how gendered, sexual and racial inequalities and injustices emerge in societies and what strategies can be used as inspiration for feminist and queer activism.  

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Perspectives and approaches to citizenship (e.g. intersectionality, queer, trans-gender, postcolonialism, decoloniality, indigeneity, bordering, performativity, global citizenship, EU citizenship, acts of citizenship, human rights, SOGI)

  • Contextualised interventions in normative debates of citizenship (e.g. equality and the institutionalization of feminist and queer movements, homonormativity, homocapitalism)

  • Theoretical contributions (e.g. intersection/s of homonationalism, femonationalism, ablenationalism)

  • Different articulations of homonationalism, femonationalism and ablenationalism in different geographical and cultural contexts

  • Far-right women in male-dominated movements

  • Western exceptionalism in the field of human rights discourse

  • Entanglement/s of race, religion and (sexual) citizenship (e.g. the racialisation of Islam)

  • Anti-racist feminist and queer mobilisations