Rather than imagining the late Victorian invention of homosexuality as a moment of singular and absolute abjection, the introduction posits the homosexual as a modern agent of neocolonial expansion (the geographies of which are redefined by new visual and information technologies), instrumental both to modern nation-building and transnational flows of capital. A range of mobilities, transformed or generated by industrialization (i.e. class privilege, whiteness, transportation technology, mass media, tourism) and eventually post-industrial society (i.e. communications and information technologies), provide conditions for a cosmopolitan gay male subject. The introduction traces the foundations of gay modernity to gay cosmopolitanism, including the queer, proletarian cosmopolitanism of sailors, soldiers, and cowboys, interrogating how these three figures were deployed to sustain and expand U.S. empire. It is crucial to recover these unexpected routes of queer cosmopolitanism in order to appreciate the links between gay modernity and imperialism.
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