National Drag and Sexual Citizenship

Meg Wesling (Cornell University, USA)

This paper addresses the ambivalence of national identity in the age of global capitalism by considering the kinds of sexual practices and identities enabled and disciplined in processes of migration, exile, and reterritorialization. In particular, I am interested in the way that national affiliation might be understood as a performative practice, in some ways like drag, when the authenticity of national identity and its links to the material signs of nation (geographical location, ethnic visibility, language) become more complex. Far from insisting that patriotism and national identity are meaningless or outdated, I suggest instead that the complex processes of displacement and migration, for many a necessary response to the neo-colonialist practices of global capital, mean that national affiliation translates into new behaviours and forms. The consolidation and articulation of queer communities is the product of one such negotiation. By examining the performance of nation as drag, this paper attempts to link the instability of national identification for "sexiles" to a broader critique of transnational cultural practices and capitalist expansion.

Postcolonial OV discourseov Casablanca Conference

Last modified: 7 May 2001