SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

Transgender nationalism, diaspora nationalism: different dimensions of transnationalism dis/entangled

Dr Alyosxa Tudor

Date: 18 November 2015Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 18 November 2015Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G52

Type of Event: Seminar

Transnationalism is widely used as a term for politics based on transnational networks and social movements that transgress national borders. The Routledge series 'transnationalism' states for example that it “broadly refers to multiple ties and interactions linking people or institutions across the borders of nation-states." Similarly transnational feminism tries to extend solidarity and political struggles beyond nation states.

My approach starts from theorizing 'transing' as a critical move rooted in specific political movements. It means 'to go beyond a certain category; to question a category; to deconstruct a category'. If transing gender means 'going beyond gender', one could say in consequence, that even the very existence of gender as category is problematic. Similar thoughts concerning 'the national' can be found in transnational feminist approaches (Campt 2011). If one of transnational feminism's projects is to go beyond the national, to criticize the stabilization of nations and nationality as 'natural' entities and to fight nationalism, isn't than the term 'transnationalism' misleading, as it carries 'nationalism' within (and this maybe not only on a terminological level).

Keeping all this in mind, in my paper I aim to disentangle different dimensions of 'transnationalism'.  The term could mean a 'political strategy based on transnational politics', but as well building an analogous term to Jaspir Puar's conceptualization of 'homonationalism' (2007), it could mean the 'assimilation of transgendered persons to the nation'. In a third level of meaning, 'transnationalism' could refer to 'cross-border-nationalism' or 'diaspora nationalism' –  a form of nationalism often established in migrant communities that constructs the diaspora as nationalist extension of the homeland. Not all notions of transgender are critical of gender binaries and heteronormativity, some reproduce gender binaries and heteronormativity and not all border crossings produce subjects opposed to nationalism (see Puar 1998). Building on Bhanji (2012), Aizura (2006) and Puar (2007, 1998) I analyze examples of transnationalism in Romanian migrant communities in Western Europe and show that in both 'transgender nationalism' and 'cross-border-nationalism' the reproduction of repro- and heteronormative binary gendering plays a crucial role. Moreover, both forms of nationalism are realized by racist practices.

This paper aims at situating constructions of hegemonic nationality and its connections with processes of racialization and intelligible gendering in a postcolonial framework. It builds on postcolonial and decolonial approaches and carves out a perspective on power relations that brings together transnational feminism and ‘trans(gender) politics’.

About the Speaker

Dr Alyosxa Tudor is currently a Senior Teaching Fellow, Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London with focus on ‘Gendering Diasporas and Migration’ and LSE Fellow in Transnational Gender Studies at the Gender Institute, London School of Economics. They have worked in the past as an Assistant Researcher at the Centre for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies, Humboldt University, in Berlin, and was a Visiting Scholar at the Centre of Gender Excellence, Linköping University, in Sweden. Alyosxa is the author of the 2014 monograph from [al’manja] with love, which revisits critical migration studies with the insights of postcolonial and decolonial approaches and carves out a perspective on power relations that brings together transnational feminism and ‘trans(gender) politics’.

Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

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