Abuses of the erotic: Militarizing sexuality in the post-cold war United States
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A growing body of scholarship critically examines the importance of sexuality to both the historical Cold War and the contemporary War on Terror, but fewer scholars have paid attention to the decade in between these two era-defining conflicts. Focusing on news coverage in The New York Times as well as government documents and declarations, the dissertation investigates the connections between sexuality and militarism in the United States during the 1990s. Drawing upon women of color feminisms and queer of color critique, this work is an interdisciplinary and intersectional cultural history that connects geopolitics to the politics of identity, histories of non-normative sexualities to the construction of heterosexuality, and transnational militarized violence to state violence `at home.' This study addresses military engagements in Iraq, Panama, and the former Yugoslavia; civil conflicts at Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Oklahoma City; the regulation of lesbian and gay identity in the U.S. military; and the epidemic of sexual assault by and of members of the military. This dissertation intervenes in the fields of Sexuality, Gender, American, Ethnic, Media, and Peace Studies through arguing that sexualities in the United States became increasingly militarized during the 1990s by way of representations and actions that presented `normal' sexuality as complicit with militarized violence and `abnormal' sexualities as deserving of state violence.