Queer Post ± Colonial Lines of Flight: An Autotheoretic Intervention in Gender, Sexuality, and Spatiality in South Asian Literatures

Bild yashka
© yashka

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.


  • 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

    since February 2021

    Reader and Social Media Manager for nether Quarterly.


    Paper Presentation: "Narrating the Brown Queer Self and Corporeality"

    in: International Summer School Tacet ad Libitum! Towards a Poetics and Politics of Silence 


    Organizer and Moderator:

    Münster Lectures: "Breaking the Silence" ("Activism and Documentation as Tools of Resistance" by Jennifer Kamau and "A Question of Silence" by Urvashi Butalia").



    International Summer School Tacet ad Libitum! Towards a Poetics and Politics of Silence


    Lecture: "Narrating the Brown Queer Self and Body: Autotheory as a Decolonial Practice of Knowledge Production"

    part of lecture series Lange Nacht der Bildung organized by Institute of Political Science and Sociology, University of Münster.


    Organizer and Moderator:

    “Queer(ing) Belongings in the Indian Nation-State. In/ Visibilities in digital and physical Spaces“. An Online Series of LISTENING, TALKING & VIEWING ROOMS on Post/Decolonial Theories and Concerns.


    Paper Presentation: "A Practice in Listening for Savarna Feminists: Re-Reading Sharmila Rege's "Dalit Women Talk Differently""


    (Re-)Reading – (Re-)Writing: Postcolonial Theories in Critical Transnational Gender Perspectives (Indian-German Autumn School), 

    Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg.

      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.