Smith, Faith, 1964Small Axe, Number 24 (Volume 11, Number 3), October 2007, pp. 130-138 (Review)
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racial formation. “Not Just (Any) Body Can be a Citizen: The Politics of Law. and the propensity for military intervention. Jacqui Alexander. and the Sacred (Durham: Duke University Press. Sexual Politics. “Not Just (Any) Body Can be a Citizen”
I provide a sobering note on the dangers of offering up sexual freedom alone on the broken platter of U. as well as “Erotic Autonomy”
1. with an examination of the possibilities offered by the sacred. . Sexuality and Postcoloniality in Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas. though expanded versions of her arguments appear in “Redrafting Morality” focusing on Trinidad and included in Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism. M. M. Jacqui Alexander. the failures of liberal feminism and academia. 2. 2005). and political economy simultaneously.
I am an outlaw in my country of birth: a national. Memory. Jacqui Alexander. Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism. “Not Just (Any) Body Can Be a Citizen: The Politics of Law.Crosses/Crossroads/Crossings
AbstrAct: This essay discusses Jacqui Alexander’s Pedagogies of Crossing as framing an analysis of the curtailment of erotic autonomy in the United States and the Caribbean. Jacqui Alexander. democracy in order to secure or ostensibly guard the boundaries of modernity. —M.S.1 The essay is not included in Alexander’s new Pedagogies of Crossing2. and ultimately I urge queer studies and queer movements to take up questions of colonialism. . Subsequent references to this work appear parenthetically in the text.
small axe 24 • October 2007 • p 130–138 • ISSN 0799-0537
. but not a citizen. Why has the state focused such a repressive and regressive gaze on me and people like me? —M. Pedagogies of Crossing
It has been over a decade now since the essay that begins with the first of my epigraphs above. . Sexuality and Postcoloniality in Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas” appeared in a 1994 issue of Feminist Review on sex and the state.” Feminist Review 48 (Autumn 1994): 5.
In Pedagogies. exemplify the kind of feminist collaborations that have been significant scholarly interventions. 1997). the increasing separation
3. by the obsession with war that imperils the world and purports to make it safe for those of us who make our beds and lie down in the shadow of the North American university. which Alexander co-edited in 1997. Colonial Legacies. for me. Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Talpade Mohanty (eds) Feminist Genealogies. on the other. by a “praisepoem” to Yemayá who presides over the crossing that is at the very heart of Alexander’s interrogation and achievement. and that have also been discounted for the almighty “tenure and promotion” because they are not single monographs. Pedagogies shows us the cost of this interrogation to her own progress through the world of academia. alongside hitherto unpublished lectures. I am thinking of the absent essay. terrifying in its impropriety.4 As collaborative editorial ventures that crossed United States ethnic boundaries and actively placed the perspectives of women of color in global contexts. 1991). and new work that breathtakingly manages to move in a new direction and re-map all previous roads taken. these books challenged United States national as well as European-American canonical definitions of feminism. on the one hand. Democratic Futures. there is still a real sense in which it should not be regarded as a culmination. “Not Just (Any) Body. under-paid adjunct faculty in the 1990s. Alexander herself alludes to the shifting and multiple “I” voices that inhabit the various iterations of her work over the years. Ann Russo and Lourdes Torres (eds) Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. At every turn we are shown the complicity of “liberal” and “radical” projects with the dangerous adventures of both North American imperialism and the Caribbean postcolonial state. Framed. as a nice Caribbean girl trying to wend my way through North American academia.3 If Pedagogies of Crossing. then. 4. I will return to this momentarily. M. Alexander crosses borders impolitely and insists that we refuse to join her at our peril.
. still. South and East Asian. as well as Latino and Latin American perspectives at the center of transnational feminist theorizations of the state and other institutions. Democratic Futures (New York: Routledge. Colonial Legacies. In “Whose New World Order” she documents the downsizing of the university and the farming out of labor to temporary.” and the utter exposure of that first-person declaration: “I am an outlaw in the country of my birth”––after all this time.SX24 • October 2007 • Faith Smith | 131
focusing on the Bahamas. while also placing Caribbean. and that are gathered up here (16). since it does not exceed the force of what came before it. first published in 1997 in Feminist Genealogies and part of the present book. and. Both Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism. and Feminist Genealogies. constitutes a retrospective collection of work that has appeared in journals and anthologies since the early 1990s. Chandra Talpade Mohanty.
the heated debate over affirmative action. Like Cynthia Enloe. among other things. That is. but also in the Feminist Majority’s critique of the Taliban’s oppression of women in Afghanistan. current accounts of modernity. a cautionary tale about book publication as the surefire way to succeed in the North American academy. Alexander insistently indicts liberal feminism for colluding in the university’s attempt to manage difference and labor like a corporation. initiated by students and other faculty. and the academy’s failure to transform the classroom. from my cautious perspective of toeing the line) of Alexander’s mid-1990s re-appointment at the New School for Social Research in New York City. in the pages of the Chronicle of Higher Education. and basements in the Bronx. feminists’ failure to critique this. These provide a context for her discussion. leads Alexander to enquire into the workings of the spirits.” of what many readers will recall as the painful exposure (again. Trinidad. Alexander maintains that teaching students to be “radical” keeps the focus on domination (8). Here.132 | SX24 • Crosses/Crossroads/Crossings
between community activism and the discipline of Women’s Studies. among other things. re-appointment and tenure guarantee nothing but the chance to serve a corrupt institution permanently. without showing the relationship between Christian and Islamic patriarchies. Alexander shows how United States militarization mobilizes sentiment for “our troops” from women explicitly by “[positioning] itself as ‘benign patriarch’” and concealing both its failure to promote military women consistently and the frequency of sexual abuse of female soldiers by their male counterparts (97–98). improve the wages of security guards and other staff. The reason for this emerges in the stunning last section. New York. and the subsequent journeys to crossroads barely understood in St. and to succeed quietly. that word. or Afghani and North American “state-sponsored terror” (185). Yet with all her critique of national and imperial domination. as well as both the centuries of African transformations that preceded these crossings. focus on the ancestral crossings of enslaved Africans and the deities that sustained them. This shows itself in the failure to subvert the tradition versus modernity paradigm which produces for students a way of consuming “the other” in fiction by women of color.
. is radically overturned here. James. in “Anatomy of a Mobilization. We are shown Alexander’s insistence on linking her own appointment at the school with a struggle. My own recollection of this as. which continues the book’s overall critique of. which she later joined: to revamp a Eurocentric curriculum. and in the world at large. and the institutional use of multiculturalism to “[cathect] all difference onto the bodies of people of color in a way that avoids developing a commitment to antiracist policies” (113). but also in the project of North American militarization. and to expose as mere window-dressing the school’s commitment to diversifying the faculty. but which is much more interested in affirming another way of being and knowing in the academy. whom she cites.
“Fictions of Citizenship. but Alexander shows how not doing so leads to conclusions about modernity. the Political Economy of the Body.” Callaloo 25. Race. Carnegie. Naipaul. Two other Trinidad-born writers reflect on Calderón’s fate in their work: Valerie Belgrave. but I am struck by the apparent lack of convergence between Alexander’s work and that of the senior feminist social scientists in the region who are roughly speaking of her generation and who work on gender. Ti Marie (London: Heinemann. no sanctioned code for articulating Caribbean systems of belief and knowledge. When Alexander is ready to receive her. since exploiting the sacred in order to perform the smart reading or avoiding it altogether risks writer’s block—the death sentence of the institutionally-attached scholar—the attempt to preserve our credibility is as deeply ironic as it is harmful. 1988) and V. 3 (Summer 2002): 868. Msieu’: Jamaica Kincaid and the Problem of Creole Gnosis. 2004). sexuality. ultimately involves Alexander’s personal initiation and attentiveness to the ways in which the academy’s abiding attachment to secularism shuts the spirits out. Charles V. as a Trinidad-born scholar based in North America. A Way in the World (New York: Vintage International. and about gender and sexuality. Though it should be noted that Alexander’s work is cited in. and Rhonda Cobham’s reference to a colleague’s silences about her wrestling with the spirits in her scholarly work: “[There] was no gnosis. 1 (Fall 2004): 61–81.SX24 • October 2007 • Faith Smith | 133
A scholarly attempt to understand how “the body had become central in the contest between European and African systems” (293) through the trial and execution of one enslaved woman in nineteenth-century Trinidad. for instance: Donette Francis. my familiarity with this body of work is not extensive.7 In
5. to Caribbean (by which I mean only English-speaking) feminisms and feminists. Visions and Possibilities (Kingston: Ian Randle. citizenship and the state. “Uncovered Stories: Politicizing Sexual Histories in Third Wave Caribbean Women’s Writings. in part by readjusting her own relationship to the authority of official archives. Rhonda Cobham. 6. 2004): 236–261. 7. since we risk scholarly credibility. “Bureaucratising Feminism: Charting Caribbean Women’s Centrality within the Margins” in Gender in the 21st Century:
. 1995). in which his own religious attachment is used to test his claims. that are too safe and ultimately flawed.5 Here Alexander reminded me of both Val Carnegie’s recent study of transnationalism. Michelle Rowley.S. See. Linden Lewis. Bodies Without Sex: The Production and Effacement of Gender in Law. no. Moreover. who may or not be the same as Luisa Calderón. Kamala Kempadoo.”6 Crossing the border between the sacred and the secular is perilous. A consideration of Alexander’s scholarship and activism raises questions for me about her relationship. Thisbe reveals herself to her as Kitsimba. Tracy Robinson. some of whom appear in the anthologies produced by senior Caribbean feminists. or even central to other scholars. 2002). whose trial and torture during Governor Picton’s regime is well-documented in the archives. The woman is Thisbe. and to memory. no. Postnationalism Prefigured: Caribbean Borderlands (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. and that concede all the spiritual ground to fundamentalists (325). through which the spiritual battle she had experienced could be incorporated into her academic text. “Masculinity.” Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire 6. and Sexual Labor (New York: Routledge. “ ‘Mwen Na Rien. and Patriarchal Power in the Caribbean” in Barbara Bailey and Elsa Leo-Rhynie (eds) Gender in the 21st Century: Caribbean Perspectives. Sexing the Caribbean: Gender.” Small Axe 7 (March 2000): 1–27. Admittedly.
” Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 11. We still need discussions of dancehall that historicize its various registers. I imagine that this organizing and these debates informed the urgency of texts such as Rhoda Reddock’s important study. I am indebted to Tinsley and Tambiah for being able to read unpublished work. Natasha Tinsley. Alexander pays tribute to the Caribbean Association for Feminist Action and Research and Action (CAFRA) and Development Alternatives for Women (DAWN) in Pedagogies—organizations that were critical to the formation of feminists. Alexander cites this in Pedagogies.” 9. I am unaware of the linkages—graduate student committees. Labour and Politics in Trinidad and Tobago: A History. and senior scholars based in the Caribbean.134 | SX24 • Crosses/Crossroads/Crossings
the 1980s they fought the good fight in their respective territories as parliaments enacted bills that simultaneously protected women and girls from sexual assault. Thomas. Alissa Trotz. institutional residencies. and to see gains being offset by compromises. in part an account of the colonial and then post-colonial state’s policing of women’s sexuality. it does appear that the most visible face of Caribbean feminism in terms of the leadership of academic units and the production of anthologies. D. guest lectures—that might tie Alexander to her peers in the region.” interventions 6. 1 (2004): 118–134. Redemption Songs. Suriname” (paper presented at Caribbean Studies Association. and it must have been painful for the various Working Women’s groups and coalitions to listen to public opinion and religious leaders influence the decisions of lawmakers. Patricia Powell and others. including herself. explicit repudiation of “perverse” sexualities in dancehall reggae music. 2005. literary and cultural critics and other non-social-scientists. Of course. Rhoda Reddock. “Casting the First Stone! Policing of Homo/Sexuality in Jamaican Popular Culture. but for an important early analysis of the fiction of Jamaica Kincaid. A very good one in this regard is Cecil Gutzmore. and while I risk displacing the importance of historians.
Caribbean Perspectives. including the criminalization. 2006): 1–31. and reinforced existing legislation criminalizing “unnatural” sex. “‘Compulsory Heterosexuality’ and Textual/Sexual Alternatives in Selected Texts by West Indian Women Writers. Visions and Possibilities. “What is a Uma? Women Performing African Diaspora Sexuality in Paramaribo. “Between Despair and Hope: Women and Violence in Contemporary Guyana. and the turn to a consistent. Studies along these lines are much more common now. 1998): 294–319. 1986” (unpublished paper). 1994).9 By “apparent lack of convergence” I suppose I mean the absence of references to Alexander’s work in the essays and anthologies produced by feminist social scientists based in the region. Deborah A. Patricia Saunders. “Public Bodies: Virginity Testing. no. even when such studies were begun long before the 1980s. “Is Not Everything Good to Eat. Yasmin Tambiah. Trinidad).
. no. see Evelyn O’Callaghan. 8. and Racial Respect in Jamaica. penalized marital violence and then didn’t.” Small Axe 15 (March 2004): 19. “Threatening Sexual (Mis)Behavior: Homosexuality in the Penal Code Debates in Trinidad and Tobago. for the first time. 1 (Spring. Labour and Politics in Trinidad and Tobago: A History (Kingston: Ian Randle.” Small Axe 13 (March 2003): 95–115. Women. Women. Michelle Cliff. 655–686. Good to Talk: Sexual Economy and Dancehall Music in the Global Marketplace. and Reddock’s 1984 dissertation in “Not Just (Any) Body.” Caribbean Portraits: Essays on Gender Ideologies and Identities (Kingston: Ian Randle. of sex between women. is a social scientist one. Hovering over these debates was the new specter of HIV-AIDS.8 We may even find in retrospect that this moment was formative for both the production of fiction exploring Caribbean sexualities explicitly that has appeared since the late 1990s.
And this last is crucial.11 I am indicting feminist social scientists. to ask why Caribbean-based feminists do not cite those in the diaspora is to open oneself up to the valid charge of “metropolitan” presumption: do those in the diaspora cite those who are based in the Caribbean? What is the status of unpublished material culled from Caribbean libraries in the published work of those who live outside of the region? To what extent is the trip to the Caribbean a validation exercise for scholars based in North America and Europe? In the other direction. for silences that ought to be laid at the door of the region’s social scientists as a whole.
10. but even more so between activist and academic were very apparent. emerge in the conferences in the region. that is. 2003). this surely has to be placed in the context of the precarious place of feminists—whether they use that appellation or not—in the region. That is. The Gender and Development Studies units on the campuses of the University of the West Indies. and Natasha Barnes’ brilliant reading of Sylvia Wynter’s oeuvre suggests how nationalist theorizing can supplant. Barbados campus of the University of the West Indies in June 2002 (and in which Alexander participated).” a conference organized by Tracy Robinson and Michelle Rowley at the Cave Hill. in relation to issues such as the male marginalization thesis and sexual harassment. firmly established and directed by full professors as they are.10 This simultaneous centrality and marginality has been the subject of soul-searching in different directions. engagements.” 11. They were certainly evident at “Recentering Feminism. “Requiem for the Male Marginalization Thesis in the Caribbean: Death of a Non-Theory” in Eudine Barriteau (ed) Confronting Power. spoken and unspoken. if I am inquiring into what seems to me to be Alexander’s marginality to discussions of gender and sexuality in the region. an anxiety shared by Women’s Studies programs in the United States as they shift to Gender or to Gender and Sexuality programs. and struggles. “Fictions of Citizenship. Tensions between diasporic and resident. Eudine Barriteau. Certainly. Eudine Barriteau. Errol Miller. Tracy Robinson. Eudine Barriteau asks about the ways in which a focus on gender has sidelined women. Marginalization of the Black Man: Insights from the Teaching Profession (Kingston: Canoe Press. who takes the long historical
. exist in the context of the on-going deep suspicion about feminists’ claims about the place of women in the Caribbean. Theorizing Gender: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in the Caribbean (Mona: UWI Press. and suggested that center and periphery are as evident within feminist circles as they are between what gets marked as “feminist” and what is considered external to or indifferent to it. See also Hilary Beckles. or perhaps even require the displacement of feminist registers. “Theorizing the Shift from ‘Woman’ to ‘Gender’ in Caribbean Feminist Discourse: The Power Relations of Creating Knowledge” in Confronting Power.SX24 • October 2007 • Faith Smith | 135
Then one could ask why trajectories should continue to be the same after the 1980s given that different locations generate different priorities. Guyanese activist Andaiye worries about the NGO-ization of Caribbean feminism. 1994). how is the lack of access to the rhythms of daily life in the region used to invalidate the conclusions of scholars who are based abroad? Such tensions.
As Caribbean nations seek greater control of the ways in which they are perceived by world music connoisseurs. including
view of feminists’ selling out to liberalism in “Historicizing Slavery in West Indian Feminisms. 20 February 1998. potential tourists. . Daily Gleaner On-Line. “The Church’s Same Sex”. 4A. Natasha Barnes. “Reluctant Matriarch: Sylvia Wynter and the Problematics of Caribbean Feminism.” about “being true to ourselves as West Indian people. We are in a moment when public discussions about political and cultural sovereignty in the Caribbean seem to turn. Reginald Allen. but also to theorizations of Caribbean nationalism more generally. her insistence on foregrounding these issues has guaranteed her marginality.136 | SX24 • Crosses/Crossroads/Crossings
Perhaps.” warnings that “foreign legislation need not be imported along with car parts. Race. Caliban’s Reason (New York: Routledge. issues of sovereignty seem to be waged more forcefully in the domain of sexuality. Garnet Roper. have all sparked public discussion about “compromising our principles. tourists’ demand for gay cruises and nude weddings. Tempest in the Caribbean (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. . Daily Gleaner On-Line.” Feminist Review 59 (Summer 1998): 34–56. and see also Cultural Conundrums: Gender. on the question of “legitimate” sexualities. “Business Leaders Mum on Homosexual Appointment” all in Sunday Herald ( Jamaica). and accommodation all come together to account for the place of Alexander’s theorizing about gender. These underline the region’s participation in and anxieties about its popularity as a tourist destination. and the homophobia of dancehall lyrics.” and “catching up without being carried away. the consecration of openly gay bishops in metropolitan branches of religious denominations. 29 June–5 July 2003. issues of diaspora. sexuality and the Caribbean postcolonial state in relation to Caribbean feminisms. or a prominent don tells the court that his alleged sexual violation of a male victim does not compromise his own heterosexuality since he has fathered several children. institutionalization. they face international criticism on everything including opposition to gay cruises. then.”12 These discussions can certainly border on the hysterical and ludicrous: an opposition minister declares that no homosexuals will occupy a cabinet position when his party comes to power. 12. Nation.” Editorial. and the Making of Caribbean Cultural Politics (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 2000). and United Nations sub-committees. more than ever. Paget Henry. Pressure by the United Kingdom and the United States to decriminalize homosexual sex and distribute condoms in prisons. Jonathan Goldberg has noted that “it is certainly possible to survey Wynter’s thought and barely mention gender as a concern.” Small Axe 5 (March 1999): 34–47.” Small Axe 15 (March 2004). It may be that as a function of not being in the region she has been able to sustain attention to matters of sexuality in particular that activists within the region in the 1980s felt that they had to drop.
. Where the anti-colonial and nationalist discourses of an earlier era had seemed to be driven more explicitly by political and economic issues. 6A. “Counting Women’s Caring Work: An Interview with Andaiye.” Goldberg. 2006). David Scott. and alternately. . 19 July 1998. “Homosexuality Out of the Closet. as can be seen in Paget Henry’s discussion/evaluation of Wynter. and the international prominence of its icons and cultural products. today. 2004): 164.
on the one hand. and Timothy S. authentic inclinations to or against same-sex desire. and specifically black and Indian heteronormativity in the wake of the violation of the Creole African and Indian body during slavery.00. And Alexander’s own contributions. Chin. no.” Sunday Observer. 8 April 2006. For a discussion of the deep investment in heterosexual masculinity for working-class Jamaicans. is accompanied by more surveillance in the moral arena.” Time Magazine. 18 June 2006. the designation of the region’s positions as antiquated by the first world.html. 12 April 2006. “No Homos! Opposition to Gays in the Cabinet. Alexander contends. 3–4 (Autumn–Winter 1994): 145–178. designations that smack of old-style imperialism. In June 2006. Linking political and economic woes attendant on globalization to sexuality in “Not Just (Any) Body in 1994. of tourismrelated prostitution. Alexander examined Caribbean states’ restrictions on homosexual sex and homosexuals.SX24 • October 2007 • Faith Smith | 137
one born during his incarceration. Posted Wednesday. 15 June 2006.14 Hovering over these discussions in the present is the realization that the region’s feminists sought to frame earlier versions of them in the 1980s. or willed ignorance.13 But the discussions take many. where governments feel they can be effective. Her contributions bear on them even when Alexander herself remains unremarked. then and now. Tim Padgett.” The Caribbean Journal of Social Work 2 (July 2003): 71–87.time. bear on the equivocations by Caribbean states. an organization of Christian lawyers requesting clarification of the reference to “marriage” so that it would be defined as “the voluntary union of one man to one woman for life. many forms.” Sunday Herald.8599. 1 (1997): 127–41. 14. “Lyrical Gun: Metaphor and Role-Play in Jamaican Dancehall Culture.
. Balford Henry. the National AIDS Committee asking for the repeal of laws criminalizing prostitution.com/time/world/article/0. Decreasing sovereignty in the economic arena. What is certainly the defence of dancehall musicians’ freedom to sing whatever they choose in the face of first world censorship is also a reaction to wholesale characterizations of the region as “the most violent” or “the most homophobic” in the world.” Callaloo 20. and it is important to note that affirmations of our true West Indian selves as relentlessly straight are often responses to attempts to reverse existing legislation that criminalizes sexual activity deemed by the state to be perverse. sodomy. the Joint Select Committee of Parliament for the proposed Charter of Rights in Jamaica heard from. Sexuality-Based Violence and Human Rights in 21st Century Jamaica.1182991. indenture. and colonialism. Two well-known contributions to the discussion about the lyrics of dancehall musicians are Carolyn Cooper. “‘Bullers’ and ‘Battymen’: Contesting Homophobia in Black Popular Contemporary Caribbean Literature. http://www. adultery and fornication. “Lawmakers Fears [sic] Christian Lawyers Want to Curtail Freedoms. to the exclusion of all others” (“to loud applause from the packed gallery”). Heteronormativity.” Daily Gleaner. see Robert Carr.” The Massachusetts Review 35. “The Most Homophobic Place on Earth? Crimes Against Gays are Mounting in Jamaica and Across the Caribbean. “The Death of Donship. and the affirmations of the region’s essential. on the other. Melville Cooke. “‘On Judgements’: Poverty.
13. The essay connects this policing of “transgressive” sexuality to a “crisis of legitimation” occasioned by structural adjustment—the shrinking of public services in order to conform to IMF and World Bank demands. and. noting the hypocrisy of this policing of non-procreative sexuality in light of the encouragement.
in the region. In doing so she exposes her own personhood in the most terrifying ways: not “citizens” in general but “people like me. The continued silence around sexuality in public discourse and scholarship. This insistence on the autobiographical register of the examination of the sacred and profane is what continues to stun in Pedagogies. is searing.138 | SX24 • Crosses/Crossroads/Crossings
and thus the need to offer up a “normal. the ways in which middle-class respectability. and in other essays included in Pedagogies. democracy” (12).” instead of. Pedagogies places all of this in the framework of attending to the need to ask over and over. (One wonders what her assessment of black tourism. religious fundamentalism. and dancehall shore each other up when it comes to a deep investment in heterosexuality. the uncritical ways in which our scholarship affirms the emancipatory projects of either nationalism or its critics without attending to the silences that Alexander’s work refuses to ignore. rather than protocols generated elsewhere. would be.”
. how we know what we know—and what are the spiritual and emotional resources that undergird our moral and intellectual identities. the first-person pronoun asserting her violent excision from and her insistent attachment to the postocolonial nation. Alexander’s work bears on all of it. To take Alexander seriously is to refuse to choose between condemning the violence of homophobic lyrics and bristling at North American critiques of Caribbean homophobia (and thus defending Caribbean sovereignty) by appealing to the homophobia of small-town America or North American conservatism generally. and our hopes for the future. That improper “I” holds the Caribbean postcolonial state responsible. It is an “I” that is usually reserved for fiction. Her critique of first world tourism. its critics in the middle class. “offering up sexual freedom alone on the broken platter of U. or for creative writers speaking about their work. and political economy simultaneously.” are “outlawed” by the state’s fear of charting modernities that answer to the region’s complex histories and memories. But Alexander does not stop there: “I urge queer studies and queer movements to take up questions of colonialism. on the ground as it were. and white gay capital in particular. gay or straight. diasporic or not. racial formation. She does both. for those who first encountered Alexander in “Not Just (Any) Body.” “wholesome” sexuality as as proof of the region’s modernity: this is what Alexander insistently excavates in that essay. To participate in that project actively or silently is essentially to prop up the violence of the heteronormative postcolonial state.S.) Without entering any of the current arguments.