1st Edition

A Queer Reading of Nawabi Architecture and the Colonial Archive Lucknow Queerscapes

By Sonal Mithal, Arul Paul Copyright 2025
    282 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    A Queer Reading of Nawabi Architecture and the Colonial Archive explores the architectural production of nawabs Asaf-ud-daula and Wajid Ali Shah, and reveals the colonial bias against queer expression. It offers methods of using queer strategies to read archival evidence against the grain and rewrite erased, overlooked, and suppressed histories.

    The book provides its readers a unique queer postcolonial architectural history of Lucknow from 1775–1857. It highlights the nawabs’ non-normative expressions which offered not just a fierce resistance to the colonial enterprise, but also was instrumental in furthering Lucknow as a cultural center. It simultaneously extracts out parameters from queer studies, and redefines them to illustrate ways in which queer architecture can be characterized. It reconstructs the footprint of nawabi architecture erased by the colonial enterprise and places it back on map—an exercise not undertaken as meticulously until now.

    A Queer Reading of Nawabi Architecture and the Colonial Archive is intended for scholars and students of queer studies, postcolonial studies, architectural history and the global south, as well as the citizens of Lucknow.

    Introduction  Section I: Dragging Up the Past  1. Gender, Sex, and State in Nawabi Lucknow  2. Locating Forms of Resistance and Transgression  3. Queering the Colonial Archive  4. Locating Inaccuracies, Fallacies, Biases in the Colonial Archive  5. Counter-archives  6. Contesting Colonial Claims  Section II: Lucknow Queerscapes  7. The Architecture of Asaf-ud-Daula  8. Architecture of Wajid Ali Shah  9. Of Vaudeville Variety  10. Of Perverse Compositions  11. Of In-tensions and Obscurations   Conclusion


    Sonal Mithal runs the research, conservation, and art studio People for Heritage Concern, and is program chair of Conservation graduate program at CEPT University, India. Her work transects architecture, feminist ecologies, queer studies, and history. She recently published Lucknow Unrestrained (2021) and Melding Matter (2021).

    Arul Paul is an Associate Professor at Nitte (Deemed to be University), Nitte Institute of Architecture (NIA), Mangalore, India. Arul’s research focuses on the intersection of architecture, urbanism, history, and queer studies. Arul’s recent publications include Lucknow Unrestrained (2021) and Queering Academia (2021).