Year of Publication

2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Patricia Ehrkamp

Abstract

This dissertation examines how the geographies of sexuality and race shape queer migrants’ experiences of settlement and citizenship in Sydney, Australia. Against a backdrop of economic shifts in the Asia Pacific and Australia's long history of racialized exclusion, I conducted 43 in-depth interviews with queer migrants and '2nd generation' adult children of migrants who reflect the diversity of Australia's migration streams, including historically important migration from Southern and Eastern Europe and increasingly significant movements from South, Southeast, and East Asia. Through those interviews, I examined participants' migration histories, everyday spatial trajectories in the city, and involvement with queer and ethnic communities in and beyond the city. This was supplemented by an additional 23 interviews with policy-makers and advocates whose work intersected with these issues, as well as the analysis of archival materials related to the politics of race and sexuality in Sydney. In contrast with a depoliticizing 'torn between two worlds' frame that imagines queer migrants as being torn between ethnic or religious communities on the one hand, and LGBTQ communities on the other, I showed—in dialogue with Hannah Arendt's writing on plurality in a single, unevenly shared world—how participants cultivated opportunities to appear and to act politically as they worked to make a place for themselves in Sydney.

This dissertation collects three articles, which speak to both the quotidian politics of everyday life and participants’ organized political projects in Sydney. The first article examines the politics of race and multiculturalism in the context of a city council-sponsored project working to raise awareness about ‘sex, sexuality, and gender diversity’ within Sydney’s migrant and ethnic communities. The second contributes to literatures on encounters across difference by showing how experiences of sexual racism worked as an obstacle to participants’ sense of belonging and citizenship, even as these ‘bad encounters’ also provided an impetus to political organizing. The third article examines the publically intimate nature of debates around migrant integration and explores the intimate geopolitics through which participants made a place for themselves in Sydney, which entailed assertions of 'privacy' as much as more immediately recognizable forms of 'public' politics.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2016.424

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