Queer Mobilities, Queer Citizenship


University of Pittsburgh

Summer 2011

Course website + syllabus

What is the relationship between mobility, sexuality, and citizenship? How has this relationship developed and changed through processes of colonialism, and what are its political, economic, and cultural implications? This seminar will explore the ways that legal and cultural citizenship practices are predicated upon certain notions of mobility and privilege, and consistently rely upon norms of sexuality, gender, race, and class. We will look to a growing body of transnational queer and transgender activist and scholarly work that is problematizing dominant notions of citizenship and mobility in the context of globalization, imperialism, war, and neoliberalism. We will critically examine dominant discourses associating migration—particularly to the U.S.—with “freedom” (sexual and otherwise), while tracking the imperial legacies at work in such narratives.

Critical questions asked will include whose mobility requires the immobility of others, how has citizenship been defined through and against migration, how have citizenship categories presumed a heterosexual immigrant body, and how are particular queer and trans projects both resistant to and complicit with hegemonic constructions of citizenship, mobility, race, and nationality?

Specific topics of focus will include: sexuality and race in U.S. immigration and asylum law, neoliberal sexual privacy and public space, state surveillance of queer and trans bodies, public health discourses and medical surveillance, the prison-industrial-military complex and forced immobilities, queer domesticity, and transnational adoption.