Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Book Launch - The Pink Line: The World’s Queer Frontiers

Mark Gevisser (author) in conversation with Rahul Rao (SOAS) and Jack Halberstam (Columbia). Chaired by Tamar Garb (IAS, UCL)

pink line

31 July 2020

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Organised by Albert Brenchat-Aguilar (IAS, UCL)

Chosen as one of The Guardian's and Financial Times' books of 2020.

We partnered with London bookshop Gays the Word and they are offering digital audience members free UK postage on orders for The Pink Line (£25). Simply email sales@gaystheword.co.uk or call 0207 278 7654 quoting 'Pink line IAS' to order. Anyone who wants to reserve and collect their copy in-person from their shop in Bloomsbury gets a £3 discount as does anyone requiring international mail order.


Six years in the making, The Pink Line follows protagonists from nine countries all over the globe to tell the story of how LGBTQ+ Rights became one of the world's new human rights frontiers in the second decade of the twenty-first century.

From refugees in South Africa to activists in Egypt, transgender women in Russia and transitioning teens in the American Mid-West, The Pink Line folds intimate and deeply affecting stories of individuals, families and communities into a definitive account of how the world has changed, so dramatically, in just a decade.

And in doing so he reveals a troubling new equation that has come in to play: while same-sex marriage and gender transition are now celebrated in some parts of the world, laws to criminalise homosexuality and gender non-conformity have been strengthened in others. In a work of great scope and wonderful storytelling, this is the groundbreaking, definitive account of how issues of sexuality and gender identity divide and unite the world today.


  • Tamar Garb is Durning Lawrence Professor in the History of Art and a Fellow of the British Academy. Her research interests have focused on questions of gender and sexuality in nineteenth and early twentieth century French art. She has also published on questions of race and representation. Key publications include Bodies of Modernity: Figure and Flesh in Fin-de-Siècle France (Thames & Hudson, 1998) and The Painted Face, Portraits of Women in France 1814-1914 (Yale University Press, 2007). Her interests have shifted more recently to post-apartheid culture and art and the history of lens-based practices in Africa, and in recent years she has turned to curating. Shows have included Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography (V&A, 2011); William Kentridge and Vivienne Koorland: A Conversation in Letters and Lines (Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, 2016) and Made Routes: Vivienne Koorland and Berni Searle (Richard Saltoun Gallery, London, 2019).  
  • Mark Gevisser's previous books include the award-winning A Legacy of Liberation: Thabo Mbeki and the Future of South Africa's Dream, and Lost and Found in Johannesburg: A Memoir. He writes frequently for The Guardian, The New York Times, Granta, and many other publications. He helped organise South Africa's first Pride March in 1990, and has worked on queer themes ever since, as a journalist, film-maker and curator. He lives in Cape Town.
  • Jack Halberstam is Visiting Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University. Halberstam is the author of five books including: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011) Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and Trans* (UC Press, 2017) and has written articles that have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and collections. Halberstam has co-edited a number of anthologies including Posthuman Bodies with Ira Livingston (Indiana University Press, 1995) and a special issue of Social Text with Jose Munoz and David Eng titled “What’s Queer About Queer Studies Now?” Halberstam is currently working on several projects including a book titled Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire to be published by Duke University Press on 2020.
  • Rahul Rao is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS. He has research interests in international relations theory, the international relations of South Asia, comparative political thought, and gender and sexuality. His latest book is Out of Time: The Queer Politics of Postcoloniality (OUP, 2020). His first book Third World Protest: Between Home and the World (Oxford University Press, 2010) explored the relationship between cosmopolitanism and nationalism in postcolonial protest. He was previously a Term Fellow in Politics at University College, Oxford. He has a law degree from the National Law School of India University, and read for a doctorate in international relations at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.