Publisher: Duke UP
Series: Next Wave: New Directions in Women’s Studies
Tenth Anniversary Expanded Edition (2017)
Ten years on, Jasbir K. Puar’s pathbreaking Terrorist Assemblages remains one of the most influential queer theory texts and continues to reverberate across multiple political landscapes, activist projects, and scholarly pursuits. Puar argues that configurations of sexuality, race, gender, nation, class, and ethnicity are realigning in relation to contemporary forces of securitization, counterterrorism, and nationalism. She examines how liberal politics incorporate certain queer subjects into the fold of the nation-state, shifting queers from their construction as figures of death to subjects tied to ideas of life and productivity. This tenuous inclusion of some queer subjects depends, however, on the production of populations of Orientalized terrorist bodies. Heteronormative ideologies that the U.S. nation-state has long relied on are now accompanied by what Puar calls homonationalism—a fusing of homosexuality to U.S. pro-war, pro-imperialist agendas.
As a concept and tool of biopolitical management, homonationalism is here to stay. Puar’s incisive analyses of feminist and queer responses to the Abu Ghraib photographs, the decriminalization of sodomy in the wake of the Patriot Act, and the profiling of Sikh Americans and South Asian diasporic queers are not instances of a particular historical moment; rather, they are reflective of the dynamics saturating power, sexuality, race, and politics today.
This Tenth Anniversary Expanded Edition features a new foreword by Tavia Nyong’o and a postscript by Puar entitled “Homonationalism in Trump Times.” Nyong’o and Puar recontextualize the book in light of the current political moment while reposing its original questions to illuminate how Puar’s interventions are even more vital and necessary than ever.
Read the preface.
Forums on Terrorist Assemblages
“Terrorist Assemblages Meets the Study of Religion: Rethinking Queer Studies,” ed. Melissa Wilcox, Culture and Religion, Volume 15 (2), 2014.
“Book Review Forum: Jasbir K Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times,“ ed. Jennifer Hyndman. Social and Cultural Geography, Vol 11 (4), 2010.
Praise for Terrorist Assemblages
“A profound and challenging book that should be read widely and repeatedly, Puar’s latest work contains revelations about contemporary power that offer avenues for transforming academic knowledge and our own subjectivities.” — Liz Philipose, Signs
“Terrorist Assemblages is brilliant, hyperkinetic, and perhaps, most of all, ferocious. It is ferocious in its analysis and critique not only of networks of control over and unrelenting superpanopticism of queer, racialized bodies but also of queer, feminist, and critical race theory and activism.” — Victor Román Mendoza, Journal of Asian American Studies
“Few points of identification, cherished political practices, or progressive claims are left unimplicated in Puar’s analysis of the war on terror. . . . Terrorist Assemblages exemplifies the most difficult and yet most important work that critical theory can offer its readers and practitioners: a thoroughgoing interrogation of the inequalities, oppressions and injustices that shape the present, which refuses to leave its authors’ and readers’ own investments outside its critiques.” — Elisabeth Anker, Theory & Event
“Terrorist Assemblages is a rich and textured read that lays bare the perniciousness of liberal politics while asking for the hard work it takes to build radical solidarity.” — Rupal Oza, Social & Cultural Geography
“Terrorist Assemblages brilliantly illuminates the imbrication of race and affect.” — Amber Jamilla Musser, Social Text
“Jasbir Puar’s Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times is a powerful, energetic, and highly insightful read. The book absorbs a surprising amount of intellectual, political, and emotional labour. . . . [R]eaders can have that rare and golden experience of emerging from these pages transformed. Indeed, the demands that Puar places on her reader are substantial, but the rewards well worth it. Cutting, courageous, and prescient, Terrorist Assemblages is well worth the read.” — Deborah Cowen, Antipode
“. . . I think it only appropriate that we succumb to this project’s velocity, that we explore Puar’s virtuosic, methodological interventions, while acknowledging the captivating intellectual performance at the heart of Terrorist Assemblages. . . . ” — Karen Tongson, Women & Performance