Homelandings is a critical exploration of the ways that postcolonial diasporas challenge exclusive formulations of ‘home’ and ‘homeland’ based on racist and heteronormative assumptions. It critically engages with Foucault’s notions of “biopolitics" and "governmentality" as a conjoined technology of governance in the era of neoliberal capitalism ushered into the global economy from the late 1970s. Drawing on texts produced by diasporic people in the UK and USA whose work resists and re-appropriates exclusive home sites produced by trends of Anglo-American neoliberalism, it exposes entrenched discourses of exclusion rooted in race, class, and sexuality. In doing so, it offers an urgent intervention for students and scholars of cultural studies, postcolonial studies, Anglophone literature, comparative literature, Race and Ethnicity studies, and Queer studies.
Dedication / Acknowledgements / Prologue: History as Home Base / 1. Home, Queer Home: Postcolonial Belonging in the Transatlantic Anglosphere / 2. Between Homes: Western Education and Transgressions of Disciplinary Gender Roles in Michelle Cliff’s Abeng / 3. Capitalist Houses, Queer Homes: Sexuality & Belonging in Hanif Kureishi’s and Stephen Frears’s My Beautiful Launderette and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid / 4. Homesick for Future Revolution: Heteronormative Lifestyles and Queer Heterotopias in Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters / 5. Home is Where the Heart Writes: Race, Media, Masculinity, and the Market in Jackie Kay’s Trumpet / Epilogue: Broken Homes and Insecure Homelands / Index
Homelandings offers a compelling challenge to received conceptions of home and national belonging by exposing the ways in which these are always already constituted by racism, classism, misogyny, and queerphobia in neoliberal governmental societies. Gairola accomplishes this through a brilliant analysis of transnational strategies of cultural resistance that have produced alternative modes of living and embodiments of home by queer diasporic agents of colour in work by Michelle Cliff, Hanif Kureishi, Jessica Hagedorn, and Jackie Kay. A timely book that stretches the intersectional matrices and transdisciplinary breadth of queer theorising in innovative ways.
Through thoughtful readings of postcolonial film and fiction as well as criticism, Rahul K. Gairola offers a sobering account of how racism, classism, sexism, and queerphobia together make up the “home economics” of neoliberal biopolitical governmentality. Although many of the texts he examines first appeared in an earlier historical moment, this book is a timely contribution to our understanding of Brexit.
The insightful, comparative readings of postcolonial fiction and films in Homelandings expose how elements of racism, class distinctions, sexism, and queerphobia are built into the neoliberal ideology of home economics and biopolitical governmentality. Gairola’s brilliant analysis of the strategies of resistance provides an alternative to state-sponsored heteronormative assumptions/ principles regarding home and belonging. His timely choice of texts dating from 1984 to 2001 is, it appears, a deliberate genealogy. They provide a historical and ideological road map of how we have gone from the rise of the neoliberal values of Thatcherism and Reagonomics to the global crisis of Brexit and Trumpism today. Truly, Gairola’s book warrants accolades for bringing searing, fresh insights and transnational breadth to postcolonial, migration, and queer studies. I wonder if the ancient Indian adage “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (from the Maha Upanishad), which means that the world is one family, could be relevant here.
Rahul K. Gairola’s work is a rich addition to the repertoire of scholarship that throws light upon (the representations of) the experiences of black and brown queer diasporic figures in the West, a category of migrants under-represented in diasporic studies. The book, on the one hand, challenges a dominant trend in diaspora studies that views the diasporic subject as heterosexual, and, on the other hand, exposes the white-biases in queer studies and invites us to look at the latter discipline from the point of view queer of colour (migrant) subjects in the West.
Homelandings: Postcolonial Diasporas & Transatlantic Belonging by Rahul K. Gairola is an important addition to the field of postcolonial queer studies...This book is compulsory reading for those interested in the intersections of postcolonialism, race, gender, and cultural studies.
Rahul K. Gairola is Assistant Professor of English & Comparative Literature in the Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee. He is an Article Editor forPostcolonial Text, and co-editor ofRevisiting India's Partition: New Essays on Memory, Culture, and Politics (Lexington Books, 2016).