Jasbir Puar Toronto book launch: “Right to Maim”
January 23rd 2018 at 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability
& Tenth Anniversary Edition of Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times
Featuring a reading with Jasbir Puar and conversation with Dana Seitler
*Please note we have changed our venue to The Gladstone for a more accessible space.*
Tuesday, January 23rd @ 7pm
Gladstone Hotel – Ballroom
Co-sponsored by the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, Sexuality Studies at York University, Department of Sociology, Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University, & The Toronto Palestinian Film Festival. Published by Duke University Press.
In The Right to Maim, Jasbir K. Puar brings her path-breaking work on the liberal state, sexuality, and biopolitics to bear on our understanding of disability. Drawing on a stunning array of theoretical and methodological frameworks, Puar uses the concept of “debility”—bodily injury and social exclusion brought on by economic and political factors—to disrupt the category of disability. She shows how debility, disability, and capacity together constitute an assemblage that states use to control populations. Puar’s analysis culminates in an interrogation of Israel’s policies toward Palestine, in which she outlines how Israel brings Palestinians into biopolitical being by designating them available for injury. Supplementing its right to kill with what Puar calls the right to maim, the Israeli state relies on liberal frameworks of disability to obscure and enable the mass debilitation of Palestinian bodies. Tracing disability’s interaction with debility and capacity, Puar offers a brilliant rethinking of Foucauldian biopolitics while showing how disability functions at the intersection of imperialism and racialized capital.
Ten years on, Jasbir K. Puar’s pathbreaking Terrorist Assemblages remains one of the most influential queer theory texts and continues to reverberate across multiple political landscapes, activist projects, and scholarly pursuits. Puar argues that configurations of sexuality, race, gender, nation, class, and ethnicity are realigning in relation to contemporary forces of securitization, counterterrorism, and nationalism. She examines how liberal politics incorporate certain queer subjects into the fold of the nation-state, shifting queers from their construction as figures of death to subjects tied to ideas of life and productivity. This tenuous inclusion of some queer subjects depends, however, on the production of populations of Orientalized terrorist bodies. Heteronormative ideologies that the U.S. nation-state has long relied on are now accompanied by what Puar calls homonationalism—a fusing of homosexuality to U.S. pro-war, pro-imperialist agendas.
Jasbir K. Puar is Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University.