Of Being and Becoming: Contesting Gay Masculinities and Mapping Queer Spaces in Select South Asian Fiction and Cinema (Working Title)
This Ph.D. project suggests that the representations of gay masculinity, subjectivity, corporeality and space, in postcolonial South Asian fiction and cinema, have certain commonalities and are inter-linked. The sexual dissenters in the explored texts are marginalized because of their non-heteronormative sexuality. The articulated aim of the research is to study the construction of masculinity and corporeality as impacted by postcolonial metropolitan spatiality, and the role that nationalism plays in propagating and privileging a certain kind of monolithic masculinity. The spatial reclamation and personal agency in these works, I propose, also question the pre-existing notions of queer liberation and empowerment by departing from visibility, assimilation and inclusion towards culture specific alternative ways of belonging and agential modes, such as secrecy, silence, concealment and developing queer heterotopias. Such departures from Western conceptions of sexuality and queer liberation politics constitute a main focal point of this research project. An attempt will be made to probe into different ways in which these texts represent gay masculinities, subjectivity, corporeality and space, and how they conceive an alternative cartography for marginalized sexual subjects. The theoretical framework employed for this purpose combines spatiality studies and postcolonial renegotiations of constructions of gender and sexuality.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Mark Stein (Chair of English, Postcolonial and Media Studies, WWU Münster)
Akshay Chavan received his M.A. (Honours and Research) in English Literature from the University of Mumbai. His M.A. thesis was titled – “Exploring Non-Heteronormative Sexualities through New Queer Cinema: Brokeback Mountain and Boys Don’t Cry”. He was a former Research Associate at the Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging Indian Diaspora Centre, University of Mumbai. His research interests include postcolonial studies, gender studies, queer theory, film studies, memory studies, trauma studies, etc. to name a few. When not busy with academic work, Akshay likes to write poems, walk through cities and watch world cinema. Besides that, he shatters patriarchy on daily basis.