Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique

Regular price $ 28.00

by Sa'ed Atshan

Stanford University Press

5/26/2020, paperback

SKU: 9781503612396


From Ramallah to New York, Tel Aviv to Porto Alegre, people around the world celebrate a formidable, transnational Palestinian LGBTQ social movement. Solidarity with Palestinians has become a salient domain of global queer politics. Yet LGBTQ Palestinians, even as they fight patriarchy and imperialism, are themselves subjected to an "empire of critique" from Israeli and Palestinian institutions, Western academics, journalists and filmmakers, and even fellow activists. Such global criticism has limited growth and led to an emphasis within the movement on anti-imperialism over the struggle against homophobia.

With this book, Sa'ed Atshan asks how transnational progressive social movements can balance struggles for liberation along more than one axis. He explores critical junctures in the history of Palestinian LGBTQ activism, revealing the queer Palestinian spirit of agency, defiance, and creativity, in the face of daunting pressures and forces working to constrict it. Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique explores the necessity of connecting the struggles for Palestinian freedom with the struggle against homophobia.


"Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique is a breath of fresh air! In the academic climate in which 'radical' has become synonymous with crude schisms between West and East, authentic and inauthentic, pure and sellout, this book provides a much-needed nuanced account of Queer Palestine. Sa'ed Atshan carefully historicizes the local terrain and rightly problematizes how US-based scholarship has turned the critique of empire into an empire of critique. This is a brilliant call for academic self-reflection and a brave rejection of so-called radical myths of cultural authenticity." -- Gil Z. Hochberg, Columbia University

"[Atshan's] work fills gaps and addresses the silences and deliberate erasures in Palestine studies, Middle East studies, Middle East anthropology, queer theories, and peace and conflict studies, showing how 'queer liberation cannot be realized while colonial subjugation persists,' because these struggles are 'inextricably linked' (p. 222). Scholars and students engaged in Israel/Palestine and settler colonial struggles will benefit from this auto/ethnographic text of subjectivities on the ground." -- Bernardita M. Yunis (Varas), International Journal of Communication

About the Author:

Sa'ed Atshan is Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College. He is the coauthor of The Moral Triangle: Germans, Israelis, Palestinians (2020).