Queer Politics in India simultaneously tells two interconnected stories. The first explores the struggle against violence and marginalization by queer people in the Indian subcontinent, and places this movement towards equality and inclusion in relation to queer movements across the world. The second story, about a lesbian suicide in a small village in India, interrupts the first one, and together, these two stories push and pull the book to elucidate the failure and promise of queer politics at large. The book asks the questions, “which queer subject does queer politics fight for?”, and, “what is the imagination of a queer subject in queer politics?”.
The Location of Trust in Ethnographic Practice (forthcoming)
In this book chapter forthcoming in Contemporary Vulnerabilities, Plans Unraveled: Reflections on Social Justice Methodologies, edited by C. Jones & C. Carter, I explore what kinds of ethnographic writing become possible when ethnography is imagined through, and as, crisis. What becomes possible, for example, when we disengage from the continuity of ethnographic storytelling, and write in ways true to the ruptures and discontinuities of ethnographic experience? How does this reorientation help us write an ethnography attuned to the discontinuity produced by housing ethnographic research on South Asia in a neoliberal university in the Global North?
In the current atmosphere of Hindu nationalist majoritarianism in India, LGBTQ activisms are increasingly being restructured through their allegiance with, or resistance to, a progressively violent imagination of a Hindu India. Within a larger climate of shrinking public freedoms, LGBTQ activisms have made some gains towards inclusive citizenship, and this has led to a false and dangerous correlation that claims Hindu nationalism is queer-friendly. As such, some LGBTQ activists promote “homonationalist” visions of a Hindu nationalist India. These narratives of “homonationalism” mete out violence against many other LGBTQ activists and communities that cannot or will not be interpellated into the Hindu nation. Reflecting on fieldwork with LGBTQ communities, in this article I demonstrate how the psychic life of homonationalism in India is rooted in postcolonial anxieties of defining an “authentic” national subjectivity.
Crisis marks our lives more than ever before. It defines the ongoing violence of capitalism, nationalism, neoliberalism, gendered and racialized oppressions, and life in the era of the Anthropocene. In addition to this, crisis plays a crucial role in queer and trans studies, which seeks to expose the crises inherent to regimes of ‘normativity’. Within this context, this article asks – what constitutes crisis epistemologies? How can we study the unpredictable effects of ongoing crises? What are the ethical imperatives of such research? In this paper, I argue that queer feminist digital ethnographies can be one method to map crisis epistemologies.
In this co-authored book chapter in Lesbian Feminisms: Transnational Dialogues with Contemporary Heteropatriarchies, edited by K. Browne, J. Podmore, M. Olasik, E. Ferreira, & N. Banerjea, we attempt to navigate the discomforts, pleasures, doubts and joys of building and maintaining queer friendships against the backdrop of contemporary times as a strategy that helps reach lesbian feminist positions and counter its costs, in the process also opening up to question, how radical is queer friendship? Phrased differently, what does queer friendship offer to lesbian feminism, and how is the praxis of such friendships radical, insofar as it works against heteropatriarchies?
In this article in a special issue of the Annual Review of Critical Psychology, on ‘Sex & Power in the University’, edited by K. Chandrashekar, K. Lacroix & S. Siddiqui, I discuss the complexities of complaint and silence, knowledge, and feminism in the academy as they tie to sexual harassment in the wake of the LoSHA and #MeToo. In doing so, I attempt to think through what it means to survive as a gendered subject in a university where sexual harassment and misconduct is structurally maintained.
In this article in a special issue of Transgender Studies Quarterly, on ‘Trans-in-Asia, Asia-in-Trans’, I engage with the hypothesis that a contemporary transgender subject in India finds itself caught between the fading voice of precolonial and colonial history on the one hand, and the strong pull of globalization on the other, creating what can perhaps be imagined as a knotted relation of the (transgender) subject with historicity and temporality. A rather confounding gap lies between premodern conceptualizations of gender and sexuality that reside as cultural memory in the subject, carrying its own paleonymic weight, and the increasingly widening signifier transgender in the contemporary. The task of this article is to explore what can be found at this interstice.
For a more expansive history of my publications, you can find my full length CV here.