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The Politics and Aesthetics of Decolonial Queering in Palestine

Alqaisiya, Walaa A.M. (2018) The Politics and Aesthetics of Decolonial Queering in Palestine. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The study of Palestinian queer politics has been either marginalized or approached through conceptual frameworks that overlook Israeli settler-colonialism, and thus lack an engagement with grounded knowledge of Palestinian queerness. In response, this study examines the political activism and aesthetic productions encountered in the queer political spaces and networks of alQaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society. It adopts participant observation and interviewing methods in order to provide in-depth analyses and nuanced understanding of how queerness and decolonization intersect and mutually inform each other in Palestine. Drawing on queer theorising and its interaction with decolonising sexualities and ‘queer of colour’ critiques, the study focuses on two main interrelated points: first, how queer Palestinian activism and aesthetics challenge and critique Zionist hetero-colonialism; second, how they question current imaginings of Palestinian sovereignty, whose visions for liberation continue to re-instantiate hetero-colonialism. The first part of the study demonstrates how alQaws’ frames of activism and aesthetics productions – ranging from video, photography and performance art – entail the will to gaze back at Zionist hetero-colonialism. It examines how they challenge the premise of the colonial ga(y)ze, as exemplified in the case of those Israeli narratives positing Israel as a modern, sexual democracy in contrast to a backward, homophobic Palestinian society. The second part of the study explores the will to imagine otherwise in Palestinian queerness by focusing on alQaws’ modus operandi and aesthetic productions, such as satirical images, performance art, fashion design and queer narratives. It sheds light on how Palestinian queerness decolonizes from within, thus opening possibilities for imagining liberation beyond the re-production of colonial gendered and/or geopolitical hierarchies. The study concludes by arguing for the importance of taking seriously the work of alQaws, and the various queer aesthetics encountered within its spaces, as a site for mapping the intersectionality between queerness and decolonisation. This remains a necessary task within settler-colonial contexts, such as Palestine, and other (post)colonial geographies where sexuality and/or decolonisation is still a matter of considerable debate.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Queering, Decolonisation, Palestine, Politics, Art, imagining
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 Jul 2023 10:43

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