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Gays Going Global: Institutional Scripting and Inclusion of Homonationalist Student Identities in Study Abroad
Nanney, Megan Paige
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Previous research has discussed the extension of social, economic, and political rights, including same-sex marriage, to the lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities. Yet, as Duggan (2002, 2003) and other argue, these sexual rights are extended only to individuals on the condition that they conform to the pre-existing heteronormative framework. Puar (2007) argues that this new normativity, called homonormativity, is part of a larger nationalist project that constructs and defines the terms of national belonging by extending sexual citizenship to the "good gay citizen." One way that individuals can work towards their inclusion is through consuming homonationalist "prepackaged experiences" that spread American ideals through travel. One example of this includes study abroad programs, where students serve as representatives of the home nation by spreading skills, culture, and ideologies to the international real through subtle actions. Preparatory orientation programs serve as a sight where students are instructed on how to be responsible representative citizens of the their nation (Virginia Tech Global Education Office 2014). Utilizing analysis of a study abroad website, participant observation of an orientation program, and eight interviews with study abroad staff and lesbian, bay, and bisexual identified students, this study examines how study abroad perpetuates homonationalist motives and ideals through the construction and inclusion of the "good representative student." I find that by privatizing and excluding sexuality from the study abroad experience as a "non-factor"--claiming that is it a matter of what students do, not who they are--homonationalism can be considered a consequence of current orientation practices.
- Masters Theses