Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Brandeis University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2015
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, Brown University
Generation Q: Queer Politics and Agonistic Intimacies in Millennial Mumbai

The recent criminalization of same-sex behavior in India, through the Supreme Court's decision to reinstate Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, has refocused national and international attention on the law and rights as the sites par excellence of queer politics. However, there is also a richness of human experience and a diversity of political practices lost in the singular emphasis on rights and laws as sites of queer political practice. For queer millennials, young people born between the 1980s and 1990s, sexual prohibition is experienced in the policing of their sexualities by the family, the limited access to urban space for exploring queer intimacies, and limits to their abilities for sexual expression. Based on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Mumbai, India, this project explores how queer millennials, specifically queer men (age 18 - 34) navigate sexual prohibitions and in the process of doing so, produce agonistic forms of relationality. Drawing on the concept of agonistic intimacy, the co-presence of conflict and cohabitation, this project considers how the daily lives of queer young people are animated by agonism in the context of kinship networks, experiences of urban space, and perceptions of the self via commodity consumption. Ultimately, through a deeper engagement with queer agonistic intimacies this project aims to trouble the private sphere as a zone immune from agonism and politics as well as question what kinds of new modes of relationality that queer emergences in contemporary India call into being.