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Sexual Nationalisms

Gender, sexuality, and the politics of belonging in the New Europe

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Published on Wednesday, January 26, 2011


International conference organized by Amsterdam Research Center for Gender and Sexuality (ARC-GS, University of Amsterdam) & Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire sur les enjeux Sociaux (Iris-EHESS, Paris). University of Amsterdam, January 27 & 28, 2011


Sexual Nationalisms. Gender, sexuality, and the politics of belonging in the New Europe

 University of Amsterdam, January 27 & 28, 2011

 International conference organized by Amsterdam Research Center for Gender and Sexuality (ARC-GS, UvA) and Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire sur les enjeux Sociaux (Iris-EHESS), with the support of The Dutch Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), and Maison Descartes.

In the past decade of European history, the rise of new nationalisms has been inextricably linked to a refashioning of the politics, identities and imaginaries of gender and sexuality. The old virile nationalism analyzed by George Mosse is now being reinvented in the light of a new brand of sexual politics. Feminist demands and claims of (homo)sexual liberation have moved from the counter-cultural margins to the heart of many European countries' national imaginations. The languages of women's and lesbian/gay rights have played pivotal roles in discourses and policies redefining modernity in sexual terms, and sexual modernity in national terms. ‘Europe’ itself is being re-imagined in terms of sexual democracy and gender equality. How are these shifts in the cultural and social location of gender and sexuality to be understood?

In Europe and beyond, the refashioning of citizenship has contributed to the redefinition of secular liberalism as cultural whiteness. Homophobia and conservatism, gender segregation and sexual violence have been represented as alien to modern European culture and transposed upon the bodies, cultures and religions of migrants, especially Muslims and their descendants. In the process, the status of Europe’s ethnic minorities as citizens has come under question. How can the entanglement of sexual and gender politics, anti-immigration policies, and the current reinvention of national belonging be analyzed? How are we to understand the appropriation of elements of the feminist and sexual liberation agenda by the Islamophobic right? And how can progressive sexual politics avoid the trap of exclusionary instrumentalization without renouncing its emancipatory promise?

Sexual Nationalisms brings together over 80 scholars working in and on Europe and beyond to discuss these issues.


Thursday, January 27th

Auditorium: OMHP D1.08

9.00-09.30 Welcome to conference participants and attendees

9.30-12.00 Opening Panel

Chair: Paul Mepschen, Universiteit van Amsterdam

Welcome discourses

  • Anita Hardon, Director of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research
  • Dymph van den Boom, Rector of the University of Amsterdam
  • Sébastien Chauvin, Director of the Amsterdam Research Center for Gender and Sexuality


  • Éric Fassin (École Normale Supérieure)
  • Jasbir Puar (Rutgers University)
  • Stefan Dudink (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen)
  • Nacira Guénif (Université Paris XIII)
  • Rosi Braidotti (Universiteit Utrecht)

12.00-13.30 Lunch break

13.30-15.30 Paper sessions

S1. The Gender Politics of Integration Policy

Room C2.17

  • Chair: Alexandre Jaunait (Université de Poitiers)
  • Discussant: Evelien Tonkens (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Marguerite van den Berg & Jan Willem Duyvendak (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Paternalizing Mothers: Feminist Repertoires in Contemporary Dutch Civilizing Offensives
  • Saskia Bonjour (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Gender – Family – Boundaries - State. Constructions of ‘Usness’ and ‘Otherness’ in the making of civic integration abroad policies in the Netherlands
  • Paul Scheibelhofer (Central European University), From Health Check to "Muslim Test": The shifting politics of governing migrant masculinities

S2. ‘Europe’ and Eastern Europe

Room C2.23

  • Chair: Olga Sezneva (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Discussant: Julie Mc Brien (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Robert Kulpa (Birkbeck College, University of London),Nations and Homo/Sexualities: "Central and Eastern Europe" and "West"
  • Agnès Chetaille (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales), The Sexual Border Within the European Union. Polish Nationalist Homophobia, the EU and the Reproduction of the "East/West Divide"
  • Rachel Alsop (University of Hull), The Geopolitical Configurations of Masculinities within Post-communist Central and Eastern Europe

S3. Religion, Gender and the Politics of Dress

Room C1.17

  • Chair: Rachel Spronk (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Discussant: Alexander Edmonds (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Annelies Moors (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Colonial Traces? The (Post-)colonial Governance of Islamic dress: Gender and the Public Presence of Islam
  • Hilal Ozcetin (Simon Fraser University), The Social Control of Women's Bodies Through the Discourses on Dress Codes in Turkey
  • Julie Billaud & Julie Castro (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales), Whores and Niqabees. An essay on the shifting boundaries of French nationalism

S4. History and Fantasies of the Nation

Room F0.02

  • Chair: Frances Gouda (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Discussant: Theo van der Meer (Meertens Instituut)
  • Todd Shepard (Johns Hopkins University), Decolonization and déséroticisation: "Arabs" and French Fantasies of the Nation around 1968
  • Peter Drucker (International Institute for Research and Education), Europeanizing Jewish Desire:The French Imperial Project and the Alliance Israélite Universelle's Sexual Project in the Islamic World
  • Véronique Mottier (Cambridge University and Université de Lausanne), Keeping the nation pure: eugenics and sexual ‘difference’

S5. Movie Screening: Pink Camouflage (Sarah Bracke, 2009)

Room D1.09

  • Introduction by Sarah Bracke (Universiteit van Leuven)
  • Discussant: Judith Butler (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Every war needs its camouflage stories. Homosexuality regularly figures in the "War on Terror", as one of the stakes of the "clash of civilizations": gay and lesbian rights supposedly belong to the West, and are threatened by the presence of Islam. In this video-essay LGB activists in Belgium and Lebanon present their visions on the intersection of sexuality, (geo)politics and war.
  • Duration: 47’
  • Languages spoken: English, French, Dutch, Arabic
  • Subtitling: French/Dutch

15.30-15.45 Coffee Break

15.45-17.45 Paper sessions

S6. The Sexual Politics of Immigration Policies

Room C2.17

  • Chair: Kees Waaldijk (Universiteit Leiden)
  • Discussant: Sarah van Walsum (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
  • Manuela Salcedo (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales), The Effects of French Immigration Politics on Binational Lovers
  • Mathilde Darley (Centre d’Études Sociologiques sur le Droit et les Institutions Pénales), The sexual logic of non-governmental support, The power of sexual labels in aliens’ detention centres
  • Letizia Palumbo (Università degli Studi di Palermo), What Is the Trouble with Sex-Trafficking? Revisiting Feminist Debates on Sex-Trafficking in Europe

S7. Citizenship and Gender Politics in Turkey

Room C2.23

  • Chair: Elif Keskiner (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Discussant: Thijl Sunier (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
  • Hulya Arik (York University), Militarism, Secularism and Sexual Citizenship, The Headscarf Dispute within the Turkish Military
  • Seda Saluk (Istanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi), Mothers of the Nation and the Making of Gender Equality: A Critical Look at Gender-Based NGO Projects in Turkey
  • Kimberley Gouz (University of Chicago), Gender, Sexuality and Politics in the Women’s Movement in Turkey

S8. Sexual Nationalism and the Politics of Aesthetics

Room C0.23

  • Chair: Liza Mügge (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Discussant: Murat Aydemir (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Anika Keinz (Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt), Provincializing Sexuality. Looking from and to Poland Reflecting Time, Space and Non-Conformity (Unangepassheit)
  • Kevin Moss (Middlebury College), Queers Go West. Homosexuality and Nationalism in Films from Russia & Bosnia
  • Bregje Termeer (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Perceptions of Belonging, Gender and Sexuality in Artistic Productions of Muslim Migrants in the Netherlands

S9. The Culturalization of Sexual Citizenship

Room C0.17

  • Chair: Sanjay Aggarwal (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Discussant: Rachel Spronk (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Laurens Buijs (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Antigay Violence and the Culturalization of Citizenship
  • Randi Gressgard and Christine M. Jacobson (Universitetet i Bergen), Intolerable Citizens: Tolerance, Islam and Homosexuality
  • Lorraine Nencel (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Sensible desires, Simultaneity and Change: Young peoples’ (hetero)sexualities in the Netherlands

S10. Sexuality and Urban Politics

Room A0.08

  • Chair: Jan Rath (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Discussant: Jon Binnie (Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • Nazima Kadir (Yale University/IISG), Sexuality, Habitus, and the Construction of Autonomy in the Squatters Movement in Amsterdam
  • Alexander Lambevski (Sextures), Re-imagining the Macedonian Capital: Urban Governance, Queer Spaces and (Sexual) Citizenship in Skopje 2014
  • Marguerite van den Berg (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Femininity as City Marketing Strategy: Genderbending Rotterdam

17.45-18.00 Break

18.00-20.00: Beyond Sexual Nationalisms – Artistic Strategies

Location: Maison Descartes, Vijzelgracht 2A

  • Chair: Bregje Termeer (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Discussant: Judith Surkis (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton)
  • Tanja Ostojic, Crossing Borders: Development of Different Artistic Strategies
  • Petra Gerschner, Public Interventions
  • Princess Hijab, Survival Strategies in Urban Settings: Black Paint and the Subversion of Ad Posters

Friday, January 28th

09.00-11.00 Thematic Panels 1

P1. Secularism and Sexual Nationalism

Room F0.01

  • Chair: Judith Butler (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Judith Surkis (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton), Sexceptionalism: Law, Religion and National Boundaries in France
  • Paul Mepschen (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Sexular Muslim Politics. Religion and Sexual Democracy in the Netherlands
  • Sarah Bracke (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), Sexual Politics in Times of Secular Nostalgia. An Exploration of the Dutch Case
  • Markha Valenta (Universiteit van Amsterdam), The Burqa as Secular Pornography: On the Thin Line between Fantasy and Politics in Under-Endowed States

P2. Homo-nationalism, Homo-neoliberalism, Homo-neo-colonialism: Crises and Travels, Europe and Beyond

Room D1.09

  • Chair: Lisa Duggan (New York University)
  • Jin Haritaworn (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies), Crime Scene Revitalizing Ghetto: On the Mobility of Racialized Homophobia Discourses in the Age of Neoliberalism
  • Fatima El Tayeb (University of California-San Diego), Between Gay Cosmopolitanism and Homonationalism: Queer of Color Activism in Neoliberal Europe
  • Jennifer Petzen (Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences, Berlin), Racism and the Death of Queer Politics
  • Suhraiya Jivraj (Oxford Brookes University), Silencing the Self: Exploring the Convergence of Sexuality and Nationalist Discourse and its Impact on Queer Muslims

11.00 - 11.15 Break

11.15-12.45 Thematic Panels 2

P3. Challenges of Sexual Transnationalism

Room F0.01

  • Chair: Francio Guadeloupe (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Jon Binnie (Manchester Metropolitan University), City-Twinning and Transnational Networked Solidarities
  • Peter Geschiere (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Homosexuality between Europe and Africa: Trajectories of Homophobia and Freemasonry in Cameroon
  • Brenda Bartelink (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), Sexular Conversions? Negotiating Sex and Faith in Discourses of a Transnational Network on HIV/AIDS and Education

P4. The Nationalization of Gender Equality

Room D1.09

  • Chair: Annemarie Mol (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Joan Scott (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton), French Seduction Theory
  • Sirma Bilge (Université de Montréal), ‘… whereas us, the Quebecois people, our women are our equals and we love them that way’: Tracing the 'Sexual Exceptionalism' of an 'Exceptional' Nation
  • Sara Farris (Amsterdam University College), Towards a Critique of Femonationalism

12.45-14.00 Lunch break

14.00-16.00 Paper Sessions

S11. Exporting ‘Europe’?

Room C0.23

  • Chair: Marlies Glasius (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Discussant: Ron Holzhacker (Universiteit Twente)
  • Aeyal Gross (Universitat Tel Aviv), Europe in the Middle East? The Politics of GLBT Rights in Israel (and beyond) – Between Queer Politics and Homonationalism
  • Darja Davydova (Universiteit van Amsterdam), EU wants –We don’t. European Pressure for Enacting Gay Rights and Politics of Belonging in Contemporary Lithuania
  • Nicole Butterfield (Central European University), Sexual Rights as a Tool for (Re)Interpreting Human Rights and Transforming European Identity: Discourses of Identity in Activists’ Struggles for Rights and Recognition of Sexual Minorities in Croatia

S12. Queer Belonging and the National

Room C0.17

  • Chair: George Chauncey (Yale University)
  • Discussant: Niko Besnier (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Chantal Nadeau (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), True Blood? Bleeding Nations, Bloody Queers
  • Michael Nebeling Petersen (Københavns Universitet/University of Copenhagen), Homosexual Inclusions and Nationalist Formations in Contemporary Denmark
  • Andrew Shield (The Graduate Center, City University of New York), Moroccan Perceptions of Dutch (Homo)sexuality, 1964-1979

S13. Neoliberalism and Conservative Sexual Politics

Room C2.17

  • Chair: Éric Fassin (École Normale Supérieure)
  • Discussant: Peter Drucker (International Institute for Research and Education)
  • Özlem Aslan (University of Toronto) & Zeynep Gambetti (Boğaziçi Üniversitesi), The Return to “Family Values”: Unmasking the Alliance Between Neo-Liberalism and Neo-Conservatism in Turkey
  • Sara Garbagnoli (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales), Naar Italië: On Nation and Exclusion. Conservative Uses of Gender and Race in Italian Parliamentary Debates on Gay Marriage
  • Mary Anne Case (University of Chicago), Modalities of Vatican Opposition to the "Gender Agenda” in Europe

S14. Sexual Rights and National Identity

Room C3.17

  • Chair: David Pollard (Company Pride)
  • Discussant: Gerd Baumann (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Leticia Sabsay (Freie Universität Berlin), Citizenship and its Discontents: Nationalist Formations and Sexualities in Spain
  • Matthew Waites (University of Glasgow), Sexual Nationalism and Human Rights in the United Kingdom
  • Carolina S. Ruiz-Austria (University of Toronto), Baring, Veiling and National Identity: Sex Politics in Canadian Legal Discourse

S15. Gender Equality and Constructions of Otherness

Room C2.23

  • Chair: Daniela Grünow (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Discussant: Giselinde Kuipers (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Aline Oloff (Technische Universität Berlin), French veiling. Feminist answers to the “veil question” in France
  • Lucia Echevarria (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), Gendered Imaginaries of Otherness: the case Moroccan Migrants’ children in Spain
  • Eva Midden (Universiteit Utrecht), Culture, Religion and Feminism: An Analysis of the Feminist Magazine Opzij

16.00-16.15 Coffee break

16.15-18.30 Concluding Panel

Auditorium D0.08

  • Chair: Jan Willem Duyvendak (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Lisa Duggan (New York University)
  • Jin Haritaworn (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies)
  • Didier Eribon (Université d’Amiens)
  • Gert Hekma (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
  • Fatima El Tayeb (University of California, San Diego)
  • Joan Scott (Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton)



  • University of Amsterdam, Oudemanhuispoort 4-6
    Amsterdam, Holland


  • Thursday, January 27, 2011
  • Friday, January 28, 2011


  • gender, sexuality, policies, Europe, nationalism


  • Amsterdam Research Center for Gender and Sexuality
    courriel : arcgs [at] uva [dot] nl

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Anne-Claire Baratault
    courriel : iris [at] ehess [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

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« Sexual Nationalisms », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, January 26, 2011,

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