Abeera Khan is a researcher and educator based in London. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Centre funded through the SOAS Research Studentship. Through a combination of discourse analysis, ethnography, and archival research, her research interrogates the category of ‘queer Muslim’ as it is deployed in London. Abeera teaches on empire, race and queer and feminist studies as a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics and the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS. She holds an MA in Gender Studies from SOAS and is the recipient of the annual MA Gender Studies Programme prize. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked as a researcher for Visualizing Palestine, an independent, non-profit laboratory creating data-led visual stories for social justice.
This research builds on queer of colour critique, queer theory, postcolonial studies and critical race theory to move beyond the dominance of identity struggle narratives and culture clash tropes that dominate academic and popular engagements with queer Muslims. Incorporating discourse analysis, ethnography and archival research, it interrogates the category of ‘queer Muslim’ within a genealogy of raced, gendered and sexualised subjectification of Muslims in the British imaginary, with London as its main site. The former metropole’s continued role in the geopolitics of the War on Terror, the surveillance apparatus directed towards Muslim communities, and the myriad ways class, coloniality, gender, race, and sexuality converge in these processes make London a crucial site to investigate queer Muslims’ subject formation.
The category of “queer Muslim” itself is predominantly taken for granted, with little work done to deconstruct the often unstable, contradictory layers of signification to the use of queer, Muslim, and queer Muslim in tandem: Who claims subjecthood as queer Muslim? In what spaces? Who is interpellated as queer Muslim and by whom (i.e. what structures of power and domination)? What coalitional politics arise from this category? How are the gendered, racialised oppositions of Western sexual exceptionalism mapped onto queer Muslims, and how are they in turn dealt with by queer Muslims themselves? In its exploration of these questions, this project traverses a range of spaces, from feminist- and queer-inclusive mosques to London’s queer nightlife, across texts from archival ephemera to film, to interrogate the shifting meanings attached to the ‘queer’ and ‘Muslim’ in queer Muslim.
- Forthcoming 2021: “In Defense of an Unalienated Politic: A critical appraisal of the Birmingham ‘LGBT Lessons’ Protests,” Special Issue on Coloniality. Feminist Review.
- Khan, Abeera (2020). “Queer Secularity.” Queer Concepts for the 2020s. Lambda Nordica, 25(1), p. 133-139.
- Khan, Abeera (2016). Book Review: ‘Song of Gulzarina’. Kohl: A Journal for Body and Gender Research. 2(2), p.262-265.
- Discussant: Book discussion on 'Out of Time: The Queer Politics of Postcoloniality’ by Rahul Rao. Politics Department, SOAS. 21st October 2020.
- Panellist: Race and Law in the Time of COVID-19. Centre for the Study of Colonialism, Empire & International Law, SOAS. 19th July 2020.
- Panellist: Feminist Work is Justice Work. Webinar. Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS. 24th June 2020.
- Conference Paper: ‘Native Orientalists and queer Muslims: Contested subjectification under queer liberal secularity.’ Sexuality and Borders Symposium at New York University. 5th April 2019.