Anjali Arondekar: What More Remains: Sexuality, Historiography, South Asia

This talk engages the emergence of a devadasi collectivity in colonial Portuguese India, the Gomantak Maratha Samaj, to pose two vulgar historiographical questions: (1) How does the absence and/or presence of archives secure historical futurity for sexuality's subjects in South Asia? (2) What if we are to shift our attention from the recursive dialectic of paucity and plenitude, and focus instead on a history of sexuality that is both incommensurable and quotidian, recalcitrant and ordinary? The challenge here is to configure a historiography that paradoxically adds value to a sedimented historical form (lost archives must be resurrected, found, produced for future gains) precisely by staging interest in its modes of reproduction.

Monday, January 22, 2018

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall




This talk engages the emergence of a devadasi collectivity in colonial Portuguese India, the Gomantak Maratha Samaj, to pose two vulgar historiographical questions: (1) How does the absence and/or presence of archives secure historical futurity for sexuality’s subjects in South Asia? (2) What if we are to shift our attention from the recursive dialectic of paucity and plenitude, and focus instead on a history of sexuality that is both incommensurable and quotidian, recalcitrant and ordinary? The challenge here is to configure a historiography that paradoxically adds value to a sedimented historical form (lost archives must be resurrected, found, produced for future gains) precisely by staging interest in its modes of reproduction.

Anjali Arondekar
is Associate Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Visiting Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at UCLA. Her research engages the poetics and politics of sexuality, colonialism and historiography, with a focus on South Asia. She is the author of For the Record: On Sexuality and the Colonial Archive in India (Duke University Press, 2009, Orient Blackswan, India, 2010), winner of the Alan Bray Memorial Book Award for best book in lesbian, gay, or queer studies in literature and cultural studies, Modern Language Association (MLA), 2010. She is co-editor (with Geeta Patel) of “Area Impossible: The Geopolitics of Queer Studies,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (2016). Her current book project, Abundance: On Sexuality and Historiography, grows out of her interest in the figurations of sexuality, ethics and collectivity in colonial British and Portuguese India.

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