Rahul Rao, "Out of Time: The Queer Politics of Postcoloniality" (Oxford UP, 2020)


Between 2009 and 2014, an anti-homosexuality law circulating in the Ugandan parliament came to be the focus of a global conversation about queer rights. The law attracted attention for the draconian nature of its provisions and for the involvement of US evangelical Christian activists who were said to have lobbied for its passage. Focusing on the Ugandan case, Out of Time: The Queer Politics of Postcoloniality (Oxford UP, 2020) seeks to understand the encounters and entanglements across geopolitical divides that produce and contest contemporary queerphobias. It investigates the impact and memory of the colonial encounter on the politics of sexuality, the politics of religiosity of different Christian denominations, and the political economy of contemporary homophobic moral panics. 

In addition, Out of Time places the Ugandan experience in conversation with contemporaneous developments in India and Britain--three locations that are yoked together by the experience of British imperialism and its afterlives. Intervening in a queer theoretical literature on temporality, Rahul Rao argues that time and space matter differently in the queer politics of postcolonial countries. By employing an intersectional analysis and drawing on a range of sources, Rao offers an original interpretation of why queerness mutates to become a metonym for categories such as nationality, religiosity, race, class, and caste. The book argues that these mutations reveal the deep grammars forged in the violence that founds and reproduces the social institutions in which queer difference struggles to make space for itself.

Dr. Rahul Rao is Reader in Political Theory at SOAS University of London. He is also the author of Out of Third World Protest: Between Home and the World (2010) also published by Oxford University Press. He is a member of the Radical Philosophy collective and blogs at The Disorder of Things. He is currently writing a book about the politics of statues.

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Isabel Machado

Isabel Machado is a cultural historian whose work often crosses national and disciplinary boundaries.

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