European Others. Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe

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by Fatima El Tayeb
University of Minnesota Press, 2011

European Others offers an interrogation into the position of racialized communities in the European Union, arguing that the tension between a growing nonwhite, non-Christian population and insistent essentialist definitions of Europeanness produces new forms of identity and activism. Moving beyond disciplinary and national limits, Fatima El-Tayeb explores structures of resistance, tracing a Europeanization from below in which migrant and minority communities challenge the ideology of racelessness that places them firmly outside the community of citizens.

Using a notable variety of sources, from drag performances to feminist Muslim activism and Euro hip-hop, El-Tayeb draws on the largely ignored archive of vernacular culture central to resistance by minority youths to the exclusionary nationalism that casts them as threatening outcasts. At the same time, she reveals the continued effect of Europe’s suppressed colonial history on the representation of Muslim minorities as the illiberal Other of progressive Europe.

Presenting a sharp analysis of the challenges facing a united Europe seen by many as a model for twenty-first-century postnational societies, El-Tayeb combines theoretical influences from both sides of the Atlantic to lay bare how Europeans of color are integral to the continent’s past, present, and, inevitably, its future.

*Fatima El-Tayeb is associate professor in the departments of literature and ethnic studies and associate director of critical gender studies at the University of California, San Diego. Her most recent publications include European Others. Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe (University of Minnesota Press 2011),  “‘Gays who cannot properly be gay’: Queer Muslims in the neoliberal European City,” in European Journal of Women’s Studies, 2011, and “‘The Forces of Creolization.’ Colorblindness and Visible Minorities in the New Europe,” in Françoise Lionnet, Shu-mei Shi (eds), The Creolization of Theory, (Duke University Press 2011).