Queer Post ± Colonial Lines of Flight: An Autotheoretic Intervention in Gender, Sexuality, and Spatiality in South Asian Literatures
This dissertation/book/portraiture/everything! refuses strict genre categorizations by making an autotheoretic intervention in the discourses of gender, sexuality, and spatiality in South Asian Literatures. The articulated aim of the research is to study the entanglement of gender and corporeality as impacted by (postcolonial) metropolitan spatiality, and the role that the nation-state and national/local culture play in propagating and privileging cis-heteronormative social orders. The selected novels act as entry and exit points which are coupled with autotheoretic musings, literary analysis, and philosophy. The spatial reclamation and personal agency in these works, I propose, 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, refusal to subscribe to labels, developing queer heterotopias, etc. Such departures from Western conceptions of gender, sexuality and queer liberation politics constitute a main focal point of this research project. This project is an attempt to probe into the different ways in which these texts represent gender, subjectivity, corporeality, and space, and how they conceive an alternative cartography for marginalized individuals. I make an intervention here and plug my embodied experience through autotheory into the literary machine and the academic machine. Using Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophical concept of the ‘rhizome’ and pairing it with other ‘disciplines’ of gender studies, postcolonial studies, queer theory, etc. these novels help me to map out queer post colonial becomings in contested spaces which in turn are queered by bodies that take kinda hegemonic kinda subversive lines of flight. Thus, what arises is a machinic assemblage of literature, academic research, embodied experience, emancipatory politics, experiential philosophy, and… (n – 1) possibilities that subverts and questions the notions of knowledge production which buttresses the construct of ‘objectivity’. This supposed objectivity rests upon the colonial matrix of power relations which silences the coloured queer bodies. Writing, here, is used to map out the terrains which are not yet realized but are on the brink of a thousand becomings.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Mark Stein (Chair of English, Postcolonial and Media Studies, WWU Münster)
yashka received her M.A. (Honours and Research) in English Literature from the University of Mumbai. Her M.A. thesis was titled – “Exploring Non-Heteronormative Sexualities through New Queer Cinema: Brokeback Mountain and Boys Don’t Cry”. She was a former Research Associate at the Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging Indian Diaspora Centre, University of Mumbai. Her 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, Yashka likes to write poems, walk through cities and watch world cinema. Besides that, she shatters patriarchy on daily basis.