Keynote: Svati Shah: Postcolonial Queer and Trans Theory: The Country, the City, and Rural Imaginaries

Date/Time: 26 August 2022, 09:00-09:45
Venue: Kulturhuset

As LGBTQI+ movements and visibility gain momentum in South Asia and Africa, these spaces take shape as urban, developmentalist, and, in some respects, homonationalist and homocapialist. In their keynote, Dr. Svati Shah reads work by South Asian historian Neeladhri Bhattacharya with political theorist Lyn Ossome’s work on gender, land rights and political enfranchisement as sites of a potentially countervailing theory of the rural and non-urban for postcolonial queer and trans theory. The talk places these issues within the broader context of anti-democratic governance and battles over historical memory in India.

Svati Shah is a feminist anthropologist who works on questions of sexuality, gender, migration and caste capitalism in India. They hold adjunct appointments in the Departments of Anthropology and Afro-American Studies at UMass-Amherst. Dr. Shah’s ethnographic monograph, Street Corner Secrets: Sex, Work and Migration in the City of Mumbai (2014, Duke University Press and Orient Blackswan, India) discussed sex work as an aspect of labor migration that is mediated by the politics of space, urbanization and caste. They are currently researching the rise of authoritarianism and the histories of new left social movements, queer feminist critique, and anthropology in South Asia.