In 2012 and 2013, masses of French citizens took to the streets to protest same-sex marriage and denounce queer theory (which they called “gender theory”) as its root. This condemnation of queer theory was driven by the fear that this ideology imported from the United States would not only pervert young people, but destroy the French nation itself. Ironically, perceiving queer theory as a threat to France means overlooking the fact that queer theory itself has been largely inspired by French thinkers. By examining mutual influences across the Atlantic, Bruno Perreau analyzes changes in the idea of national identity in France and the United States. In the process, he offers a new theory of minority politics: an ongoing critique of norms is not only what gives rise to a feeling of belonging; it is the very thing that founds citizenship.
February 8, 2017