Oecumene Dialogue April 2013

Dear Oecumene friends and colleagues,

We are very pleased to send you the April edition of Oecumene Dialogues our monthly newsletter.

Summary of items covered in this issue:

  1. Publication:'Queering the politics of global sexual rights?' by Leticia Sabsay
  2. Blog: 'Mercury and Corporate Citizenship' by Brendan Donegan
  3. Blog: 'Do we really know who can act as a European citizen?'by Michael Saward
  4. News: Interviews with Rui Tavares, Rosi Braidotti, Anais Faure-Atger, Martin Wilhelm

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1. Publication: Queering the politics of global sexual rights? by Leticia Sabsay

Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 13:1

 To be ‘politically queer’ at the beginning of the 1990s indicated opposition to the policing of identity and heteronormativity, and adherence to a politics that transcended liberal-legal claims. More recently, queer activism and scholarship have largely focused on contesting the emergence of homonormative forms of nationalism and institutionalized rights-based LGBT politics. However, to define a political intervention as queer on the condition that it explicitly adheres to one or other specific political project is possibly to overstate the case. The ‘queer signifier’ has travelled far beyond its local origins and, as a consequence, has shifted meanings in significant ways. In this essay, I consider current tensions concerning what it means to be politically queer, focusing on queer responses to the formation of sexual rights-bearing subjects, and critically analyse the notion of sexual rights on which contemporary international mainstream sexual politics is based. Through this analysis I aim to draw attention to the entanglement of the normalization of sexual identities at a national level with current sexual neocolonial projects. Since the signifier ‘queer’ has spread in many different directions, I argue that it is precisely cultural translation that makes key alliances against both universalist and nationalist queer positions possible.


2.  Blog: Mercury and Corporate Citizenship

by Brendan Donegan

Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), a majority-owned subsidiary of Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever, has left the town of Kodaikanal (Tamilnadu, India) tainted with mercury from its thermometer factory. In 2005 the company said it would clean up the factory site to a standard of 10mg of mercury per kilogram of soil: a Dutch soil quality standard for residential areas.


3.  Blog: 'Do we really know who can act as a European citizen?'

by Michael Saward

The new book Enacting European Citizenship does a curious thing: it questions the very ownership of the idea of citizenship.

There is, of course, a continuing complex debate, not least within core EU institutions like the European Commission and the European Court of Justice, about how the legal status of European citizenship can be better known, more widely respected and more commonly acted upon.  There is plenty in the book reflecting that debate and taking it further. My own chapter discusses the new European Citizens Initiative as an effort to encourage European citizens to activate their legal status, to be active European citizens.


4.  News: Interviews with Rui Tavares, Rosi Braidotti, Anais Faure-Atger, Martin Wilhelm

As part of our past event in Brussels on 27 March 2013, Amandine Scherrer interviewed Rui Tavares MEP, Professor Rosi Braidotti (Utrecht University), Anais Faure-Atger (Red Cross EU), Martin Wilhelm (Citizens for Europe). They spoke about enacting European citizenship and what this means especially in times of crisis. All interviews are now available on our website via the following links below:





Oecumene: Citizenship after Orientalism is funded by an European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant (Institutions, values, beliefs and behaviour ERC-AG-SH2).

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