Join the Centre for Intimate and Sexual Citizenship for an insightful seminar with Dr Sharif Mowlabocus.
Sharif Mowlabocus is an Associate Professor in Communication and Culture at Fordham University, NYC. He has a PhD from the University of Sussex and his first book, Gaydar Culture (2010) explored the integration of digital media into the everyday lives of gay men. His second book, Interrogating Homonormativity is being published by Palgrave in December 2021.
Homonormativity turns 20 in 2022. In the two decades since Lisa Duggan first coined the term, homonormativity has entered into the lexicon of university seminar rooms, activist meetings and queer digital spaces. This increase in use has invariably led to misunderstandings, misreadings and second-hand interpretations of the term. While often well meaning, such (mis)appropriations of homonormativity have arguably dulled its critical edge. Today, homonormativity is in danger of becoming little more than a blunt tool with which to admonish anyone who fails to live up to a certain queer ideal. This talk is not a defense of homonormativity. Instead, it invites a deeper, more politically-engaged interrogation of contemporary gay male culture using the critical lens developed by Duggan. Drawing on ethnographic and interview material gathered over the last six years, I consider how the politics of homonormativity have come to underpin both gay male culture, and its relationship to broader British society. This examination spans a range of topics from same-sex marriage to chemsex, to work culture and on through to HIV/AIDS prevention. Through these case studies I signpost not only the malleability of homonormativity, but also of queer resistance to it, and point to the ways in which gay male culture is built upon a central tension: between the sexual politics of neoliberalism on the one hand, and a progressive resistance to normativity on the other.