Drawing on ethnographic and archival research among foreign policy elites in Washington, DC, this article turns attention to the affective gendered and racialized work that shapes US foreign policy. In particular, this article focuses on a form of strategic mimicry I call “gendered Occidentalism,” which has been used by representatives of Persian Gulf states to gain entry into the US foreign policy establishment, and through it, the authoritative power to interpret the “Middle East” for their elite American counterparts. To make this argument, I examine both a historical and contemporary case study, showing the trajectory of this gendered Occidentalism and the ways Gulf policy elites have been able to adapt these affective techniques to align with the changing gendered and racialized norms of the DC establishment. Ultimately, this article considers a more dynamic geopolitical landscape in which less powerful states can—through the affective techniques deployed by their representatives—influence how a hegemonic state like the United States perceives and pursues in its interests abroad. [gender, policy, affect, diplomacy, Middle East].
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science