This ground-breaking collection reflects the growing momentum of interest in the international legal community in meshing the insights of queer legal theory with those critical theories that have a much longer genealogy – notably postcolonial and feminist analyses. Beyond the push in the human rights field to ensure respect for the rights of people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, queer legal theory provides a means to examine the structural assumptions and conceptual architecture that underpin the normative framework and operation of international law, highlighting bias and blind spots and offering fresh perspectives and practical innovations.

The contributors to the book use queer legal theory to critically analyse the basic tenets and operations of international law, with many surprising, thought-provoking and instructive results. The volume will be of interest to many scholars, students and researchers in international law, international relations, cultural studies, gender studies, queer studies and postcolonial studies.

chapter |11 pages


Embracing queer curiosity

part I|60 pages

Complicities: Sexuality, coloniality and governance

chapter 1|20 pages

A tale of two atonements

chapter 2|18 pages

‘Dangerous desires’

Illegality, sexuality and the global governance of artisanal mining

chapter 3|21 pages

The anatomy of neoliberal Internet governance

A queer critical political economy perspective

part II|54 pages

Possibilities: Rethinking violence, war and law

chapter 4|14 pages

International law as violence

Competing absences of the other

chapter 6|18 pages

In spite

Testifying to sexual and gender-based violence during the Khmer Rouge period

part III|63 pages

Alliances: Making queer lives matter

chapter 8|23 pages


The emergence of global gay governance

chapter 9|20 pages

Governing (trans)parenthood

The tenacious hold of biological connection and heterosexuality

part IV|67 pages

Risks: Troubling statehood, sovereignty and its borders

chapter 10|20 pages

Queer border crossers

Pragmatic complicities, indiscretions and subversions

chapter 11|23 pages

Queering international law’s stories of origin

Hospitality and homophobia

chapter 12|22 pages

Resisting the heteronormative imaginary of the nation-state

Rethinking kinship and border protection