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Speaker: Dr Rahul Rao, Reader in Political Theory , SOAS South Asia Institute, University of London

Chair: Dr Aggie Hirst, Senior Lecturer in International Relations Theory and Methods and Chair of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Department of War Studies, King's College London


To mark LGBT+ History Month, the School of Security Studies Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee are privileged to welcome Dr Rahul Rao to discuss the correlation between queerness, violence and law within Uganda in his new book Out of Time: The Queer Politics of Postcoloniality.



Between 2009 and 2014, an anti-homosexuality law circulating in the Ugandan parliament came to be the focus of a global conversation about queer rights. The law attracted attention for the draconian nature of its provisions and for the involvement of US evangelical Christian activists who were said to have lobbied for its passage. Focusing on the Ugandan case, this book seeks to understand the encounters and entanglements across geopolitical divides that produce and contest contemporary queer-phobias. It investigates the impact and memory of the colonial encounter on the politics of sexuality, the politics of religiosity of different Christian denominations, and the political economy of contemporary homophobic moral panics.

In addition, Out of Time  places the Ugandan experience in conversation with contemporaneous developments in India and Britain—three locations that are yoked together by the experience of British imperialism and its afterlives. Intervening in a queer theoretical literature on temporality, Rahul Rao argues that time and space matter differently in the queer politics of postcolonial countries. By employing an intersectional analysis and drawing on a range of sources, Rao offers an original interpretation of why queerness mutates to become a metonym for categories such as nationality, religiosity, race, class, and caste. The book argues that these mutations reveal the deep grammars forged in the violence that founds and reproduces the social institutions in which queer difference struggles to make space for itself. In conversation with Dr A Hirst, Dr Rao will also reflect on broader themes surrounding queer and postcolonial scholarship and praxis in IR and beyond. 

The talk will be followed by questions and answers from the audience.

This event is taking place on Zoom. Please click here to register your place, you will be sent the Zoom link and password from 48 hours before the event.



Rahul Rao is the author of Out of Time: The Queer Politics of Postcoloniality (2020) and Third World Protest: Between Home and the World (2010), both published by Oxford University Press. He is currently writing a book on the politics of controversial statues. He is a member of the Radical Philosophy collective and blogs occasionally at The Disorder of Things. He has research interests in international relations, postcolonial and queer theory, gender and sexuality, and South Asia.


At this event

Dr Aggie Hirst

Reader in International Relations Theory and Methods