Akshay Chavan

Of Being and Becoming: Contesting Gay Masculinities and Mapping Queer Spaces in Select South Asian Fiction and Cinema (Arbeitstitel)

Akshay Chavan
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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.

  • Academic CV

    Since 10/2018 Ph.D. student at the GSPoL
    07/2017 – 08/2018 Research Associate, Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging Indian Diaspora Centre (CoHaB IDC), University of Mumbai
    04 – 07/2015 Semester Abroad (scholarship holder), Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf, English Literary Studies
    08/2014 – 05/2016 M.A. (Honours and Research) English Literature, University of Mumbai
    12/2013 – 06/2014 Editorial Intern, Nether – A Journal of Literature and Art
    08/2011 – 07/2014 B.A. English Literature, Ramnarain Ruia College, University of Mumbai

  • Projects

    Was actively involved in the editorial work of critical anthologies on Diaspora Studies published by the CoHaB IDC, University of Mumbai.
    06/2018 Coordinated the International Joint Symposium, entitled “Afrasian Interactions: Current Dynamics, Future Perspectives”, organized by the CoHaB IDC (University of Mumbai) along with AFRASO (Goethe University, Frankfurt) and Dr. BMN College (Mumbai) on 26th and 27th June, 2018.
    2016 Conducted a workshop on English grammar for middle school students in a Zilla Parishad (district level local authorities) School in Nikamwadi (a small village in the Satara district of Maharashtra) in 2016.