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Queer Migration Scholarship

An Unruly Body of Inquiry*

Queer protesters display signsQueer migration scholarship, an unruly body of inquiry that is potentially vast in scope, has varied rather than singularly defined subjects and objects of study. It participates in and contributes to wide-ranging debates that traverse multiple fields and disciplines. It has been fueled by the fact that international migration and related transnationalizing processes have transformed every facet of our social, cultural, economic, and political lives in recent decades. Sexuality scholarship has started to explore how “the age of migration” is centrally implicated in the construction, regulation, and transformation of sexual identities, communities, politics, and cultures. At the same time, migration scholarship has begun to theorize how sexuality, a neglected concern, constitutes a “dense transfer point for relations of power” that structure all aspects of international migration. Queer migration scholarship, which richly explores the multiple conjunctions between sexuality and migration, has drawn from and greatly contributed to these bodies of research — as well as to feminist and gender, racial/ethnic, postcolonial, public health, and globalization studies, among other fields.

Queer protesters display a sign in a park

This website is dedicated to providing a forum for scholars whose research particularly focuses on the intersections among international migration and LGBTQ individuals, communities, histories, cultures, and politics. We acknowledge that the categories of LGBTQ present challenges, including because they carry problematic epistemological legacies that demand to be interrogated; migrants don’t necessarily fall into or identify with these categories, which raises important questions about the production, circulation, and remaking of the categories including through international migration; and the categories are inescapably implicated in complex relations of power. Thus, we use LGBTQ in a contingent, open-ended manner that is intended to raise questions of power, inequality, and social struggle that are an important focus for scholarship on this website.

The production and publication of queer migration scholarship has grown significantly since the mid-1990s. Below is a listing of important book-length works, primarily though not exclusively in the social sciences. Please email to let us know if we have missed any books that should be on this list. You can contact Karma R. Chávez or Eithne Luibhéid.

Key Books in Queer Migration Scholarship

(a partial list)

Queer protesters on a city street

M. Jacqui Alexander, Pedagogies of Crossing, Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005)

Margot Canaday, The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth Century America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009)

Lionel Cantú, Jr., The Sexuality of Migration. Border Crossings and Mexican Immigrant Men edited by Nancy A. Naples and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz (New York: New York University Press, 2009)

Carlos Ulises Decena, Tacit Subjects: Belonging and Same-Sex Desire among Dominican Immigrant Men (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011)

Brad Epps, Keja Valens, and Bill Johnson González, eds., Passing Lines: Sexuality and Immigration (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, 2005)

Olíva Espín, Latina Realities: Essays on Healing, Migration, and Sexuality (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997)

Gayatri Gopinath, Impossible Desires (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005)

John Hart, Stories of Gay and Lesbian Immigration. Together Forever? (New York: Harrington Park Press, 2002)

Adi Kuntsman, Figurations of Violence and Belonging: Queerness, Migranthood and Nationalism in Cyberspace and Beyond (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009)

Larry La Fountain-Stokes, Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009)

Eithne Luibhéid, Entry Denied: Controlling Sexuality at the Border (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002)

Eithne Luibhéid, ed., “Queer/Migration,” a special issue of GLQ, Vol. 14, nos. 2-3 (2008)

Eithne Luibhéid and Lionel Cantú, Jr., eds., Queer Migration: Sexuality, U.S. Citizenship and Border Crossings (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005)

Martin F. Manalansan IV, Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003)

Cindy Patton and Benigno Sánchez-Eppler, eds., Queer Diasporas (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000)

Jasbir K. Puar, ed., “Queer Tourism: Geographies of Globalization,” a special issue of GLQ Vol.8 nos.1-2 (2002)

Erica Rand, The Ellis Island Snow Globe (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005)

Nayan Shah, Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001)

Neferti Tadiar, ed., “Borders on Belonging: Gender and Immigration,” a special issue of S&F Online Vol.6 no. 3 (2008)

Gloria Wekker, The Politics of Passion: Women’s Sexual Culture in the Afro-Surinamese Diaspora (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006)

Chiou-Ling Yeh, Making an American Festival: Chinese New Year in San Francisco’s Chinatown (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008)

*excerpted from: “Queer/Migration: An Unruly Body of Scholarship.” GLQ Vol. 14, no. 2-3 (2008): 169-90.

Photos by: Daniel Carrillo, Rachel Levitt and Hai Ren

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