Sexual Tensions of Post-Empire

44 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2004

Date Written: January 2004


In this essay Katherine Franke examines two contemporary cites in which state efforts to eradicate the traces of empire and to resurrect an authentic post-colonial nation have produced sexual subjects that serve as a kind of existential residue and reminder of a demonized colonial past and absence. Looking first at post-colonial Zimbabwe, Franke argues that President Mugabe's aggressively homophobic policies have played a key role in fortifying his leadership as authentically African and post-colonial.

Franke then turns to current efforts by the Mubarak government in Egypt to publically prosecute men for having sex with men. The Mubarak government has used homosexual show trials, first in security courts, and then in civilian courts, as a dry run for the reorganization of the Egyptian court system's jurisdiction over dissenters and outcasts.

Suggested Citation

Franke, Katherine M., Sexual Tensions of Post-Empire (January 2004). Columbia Law School Pub. Law Research Paper No. 04-62. Available at SSRN: or

Katherine M. Franke (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States
(212) 854-0061 (Phone)
(212) 854-7946 (Fax)


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