ARTICLE
Raping Like a State
Teemu Ruskola* 
57 UCLA L. Rev. 1477

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Abstract

It is a remarkable fact that rhetorically the state is gendered male, while state-on-state violence is continually represented as sexual violence. This Article applies the insights of queer theory to examine this rhetoric of sexual violation. More specifically, it analyzes the injury of colonialism as a kind of homoerotic violation of non-Western states’ (would-be) sovereignty. It does so by taking seriously the legal fiction of the state as an “international legal person.” Historically, colonial violence is routinely described as rape. What does it mean to liken a state to a person, and its conduct to rape? How does a state rape? Whom does it rape, and under what conditions?


* Professor of Law, Emory University. A.B., A.M. Stanford University; J.D., Yale University.

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