Queer activism as governmentality: regulating lesbian lives in India

Monday, 23 October, 2017 - 15:00

Presented by : 


In this paper, which draws from a book manuscript in progress on feminist/queer politics in India, I show how ‘activism’ is informed by multiple rationalities and techniques of governing the self and other. Activism is a conduct of conduct that has as its object the transformation of selves and society. In queer activism, we see the very intimate nature of a project of working on the self. The queer activists I consider – mostly lesbian women involved in lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues – employ a range of practices and techniques to enhance the scope of personal and political transformation. Such practices and their underlying rationalities are both hegemonic and counter-hegemonic with normalizing and non-normalizing effects. At the heart of these queer governmentalities is this question: how to live, as a queer Indian woman? In setting the terms not just of queer politics but also of queer liveability, I am most interested in what kinds of life and conduct queer activism renders in/commensurate with its activist ethics and practices, as these materialize and transform over distinct temporal-spatial registers and (re)produce global and domestic hegemonies.


General seminar arrangements

  • The WISH seminar is hosted on-line every Monday afternoon at 16:00 - 17:00 SA during the teaching semester.
  • A printable version of the seminar schedule for the current year is available here.
  • For the details of the Zoom meetings, please sign up for email notices at https://wiser.wits.ac.za/mail.
  • Participants must read the paper prior to the seminar, which is typically available by the Friday preceding the seminar.
  • The WISH seminar archive is available here