Cover of Eros and Empire by Alexander Stoffel
Eros and Empire
The Transnational Struggle for Sexual Freedom in the United States
Alexander Stoffel

February 2025
264 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503641662



The history of queer politics in the United States since 1968 is commonly narrated as either a progressive campaign for state recognition or as a subcultural rejection of prevailing gender norms. But these accounts miss the true scale of queer politics in the post-war era. By centering transnational relations, practices, and infrastructures in the history of sexual rebellion, Eros and Empire provides an alternative view of US-based struggles for sexual freedom.

Alexander Stoffel analyzes three prominent US-based social movements—gay liberationism, Black lesbian feminism, and AIDS activism—to argue that they were fundamentally shaped by their transnational entanglements. Departing from popular domestic framings of these movements, Stoffel recasts the history of radical queer thought and action as a project of erotic worldmaking. This project mobilized queer affects of pleasure, desire, and eroticism in the fight for revolutionary transformation on a world scale. The transnational perceptions, activities, and consciousness of queer radicals, Stoffel argues, not only conditioned the trajectory of queer history, but also radicalized wider anti-imperialist, socialist, and abolitionist struggles past and present.

In this ambitious and interdisciplinary work, Stoffel reconsiders the United States' revolutionary sexual past and creates new opportunities for the study of sexual formations in relation to questions of capital accumulation, empire, and resistance.

About the author

Alexander Stoffel is a Lecturer in International Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London.