Jimia Boutouba Guest Edits
Jimia Boutouba was guest-editor for a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Nouvelles Etudes Francophones (NEF) titled "Droit de Cité: l’Autre en démocratie ou la bataille pour l’éga-liberté" ("The Right to Citizenship: The “Other” in Democracy or the Battle for Equaliberty"), published in February 2023.
In dominant discourses, migrants are mostly perceived as either victims or villains but rarely as political subjects and democratic constituents. Challenging this view, the aim of this issue is to rethink democracy with respect to migration struggles. In particular, it examines how postcolonial Francophone writers and filmmakers have addressed the so-called “migrant crisis”, the perilous journeys, and the daily human tragedies that unfold before us. How is migration redefined in the current global context? How do literature and cinema present individual and collective journeys as a political mode of existence and a form of active citizenship that transcends borders and barbed wire? Whether labeled immigrants, children of immigrants, migrants, political refugees, asylum seekers, displaced populations, their stories and sometimes deadly journeys (as evidenced by the 71 decomposing bodies abandoned on a highway in Austria in 2015 or the body of a 3-year-old boy washed ashore on a beach in Turkey), put “democracy” to the test, forcing it to question its ideal of equality and inclusion.
Jimia's article “Française, Algérienne, musulmane et lesbienne: Naissance d’une subjectivité politique chez Fatima Daas” was published in the NEF special issue she edited. This article centers on the politics of “sexual nationalism” as deployed in contemporary France, and its impact on queer Muslim women, a group largely overlooked in scholarship, politics, LGBTQ+ and religious spaces. The way LGBTQ rights are increasingly incorporated into French national discourses contributes to establish new boundaries of belonging as well as new exclusions of non-normative ethnic and religious “Others” - Muslims in particular- who are considered inimical to LGBTQ rights. Homonationalism, as defined by Jasbir Puar, not only legitimizes criticism of Islam and fuels Islamophobia across the nation, but it also places French Queer Muslims in a precarious position. The recent controversy generated by Fatima Daas, a young author who identifies as French, Algerian, lesbian and a practicing Muslim, testifies to the way sexual and ethno-religious identities are seen as mutually exclusive, thus constructing Queer Muslims as “a group to be saved” from their homophobic culture and religion. Refusing to be silenced by the imposition of a homonormative model of “visible” queer sexuality, Fatima Daas offers an oppositional gaze and a counter-narrative that disentangles the complex intersections of sexuality, religion, and ethnicity.