Strange Affinities

The Gender and Sexual Politics of Comparative Racialization

Strange Affinities

Perverse Modernities: A Series Edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe

More about this series

Book Pages: 384 Illustrations: 10 illustrations Published: August 2011

American Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Queer Theory, Theory and Philosophy > Race and Indigeneity

Representing some of the most exciting work in critical ethnic studies, the essays in this collection examine the production of racialized, gendered, and sexualized difference, and the possibilities for progressive coalitions, or the “strange affinities,” afforded by nuanced comparative analyses of racial formations. The nationalist and identity-based concepts of race underlying the mid-twentieth-century movements for decolonization and social change are not adequate to the tasks of critiquing the racial configurations generated by neocolonialism and contesting its inequities. Contemporary regimes of power produce racialized, gendered, and sexualized violence and labor exploitation, and they render subjects redundant and disposable by creating new, nominally nonracialized categories of privilege and stigma. The editors of Strange Affinities contend that the greatest potential for developing much-needed alternative comparative methods lies in women of color feminism, and the related intellectual tradition that Roderick A. Ferguson has called queer of color critique. Exemplified by the work of Audre Lorde, Cherríe Moraga, Barbara Smith, and the Combahee River Collective, these critiques do not presume homogeneity across racial or national groups. Instead, they offer powerful relational analyses of the racialized, gendered, and sexualized valuation and devaluation of human life.

Victor Bascara
Lisa Marie Cacho
M. Bianet Castellanos
Martha Chew Sánchez
Roderick A. Ferguson
Grace Kyungwon Hong
Helen H. Jun
Kara Keeling
Sanda Mayzaw Lwin
Jodi Melamed
Chandan Reddy
Ruby C. Tapia
Cynthia Tolentino


“[T]hese essays help to define the contours of new ways of doing ethnic studies, recognizing yet resistant to minority nationalisms and normative forms of comparative analysis.” — Anna Pegler-Gordon, Journal of American Studies

“The contributors’ . . . many pieces convey both an astonishing range of insights and a tone that takes differences within difference as salutary, if not always comfortable.” — David Roediger, American Quarterly

"By deploying alternative comparisons across minoritized differences, the essays in Strange Affinities provide original analyses of racialization that unravel or unsettle existing categories of race and ethnicity (such as Black, Latina/o, and Asian)—or cut across them—to better articulate how racialized subjects and their relations are always already constituted by gender and sexual differences." — Yu-Fang Cho, National Political Science Review

“In a world reorganized by neoliberal globalization, the stark inequalities of new class and racial formations require newly sharpened analytic and political tools. The essays collected in Grace Kyungwon Hong’s and Roderick A. Ferguson’s Strange Affinities address these realities, stretching our too static concepts and methods, and challenging our political visions. Drawing on women of color feminism and queer of color critique, this indispensable volume suggests new modes of analysis for ethnic studies and feminist and queer theory, and it provides new ways of thinking the intertwined histories of race, class, nation, gender, and sexuality for the twenty-first century.” — Lisa Duggan, author of Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence, and American Modernity

“This ambitious and theoretically compelling volume lays the groundwork for a ‘new ethnic studies’ by centering gender and sexuality within comparative race projects. In a globally integrated economy, with older forms of colonialism and the nation-state giving way to new modes of neocolonial exploitation and domination under the shadow of global capitalism, the need for a new ethnic studies that can unpack the political and cultural implications of these evolving social relations in various contexts and locations is ever more urgent.” — David L. Eng, author of The Feeling of Kinship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Grace Kyungwon Hong is Associate Professor of Asian American Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of The Ruptures of American Capital: Women of Color Feminism and the Cultures of Immigrant Labor.

Roderick A. Ferguson is Associate Professor and Chair of American Studies at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Introduction / Grace Kyungwon Hong and Roderick A. Ferguson 1

I. Alternative Identifications

1. Racialized Hauntings of the Devalued Dead / Lisa Marie Cacho 25

2. I = Another: Digital Identity Politics / Kara Keeling 53

3. Reading Tehran in Lolita: Making Racialized and Gendered Difference Work for Neoliberal Multiculturalism / Jodi Melamed 76

2. Undisciplined Knowledges

4. The Lateral Moves of African American Studies in a Period of Migration / Roderick A. Ferguson 113

5. Volumes of Transnational Vengeance: Fixing Race and Feminism on the Way to Kill Bill / Ruby Tapia 131

6. Time for Rights? Loving, Gay Marriage, and the Limits of Comparative Legal Justice / Chandan Reddy 148

7. Romance with a Message: W. E. B. Du Bois's Dark Princess and the Problem of the Color Line / Sanda Mayzaw Lwin 175

3. Unincorporated Territories, Interrupted Times

8. "In the Middle": The Miseducation of a Refugee / Victor Bascara 195

9. Deconstructing the Rhetoric of Mestizaje through the Chinese Presence in Mexico / Martha Chew Sánchez 215

10. Fun with Death and Dismemberment: Irony, Farce, and the Limits of Nationalism in Oscar Zeta Acosta's The Revolt of the Cockroach People and Ana Castillo's So Far from God / Grace Kyungwon Hong 241

11. Becoming Chingón/a: A Gendered and Racialized Critique of the Global Economy / M. Bianet Castellanos 270

12. Black Orientalism: Nineteenth-Century Narratives of Race and U.S. Citizenship / Helen H. Jun 293

13. "A Deep Sense of No Longer Belonging": Ambiguous Sties of Empire in Ana Lydia Vega's Miss Florence's Trunk / Cynthia Tolentino 316

References 337

Contributors 359

Index 363
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4985-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4970-9
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