Being Janana: Language and Sexuality in Contemporary India, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Being Janana

Language and Sexuality in Contemporary India, 1st Edition

By Ila Nagar


256 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780367356231
pub: 2019-10-03
Available for pre-order

FREE Standard Shipping!


Being Janana focuses on same-sex desiring male-bodied subjects in Lucknow, India, and explores how they make meaning in the marginalization of their desire through language performativity.

Along with their desire for other men, jananas maintain ostensibly heteronormatively and culturally defined masculine positions. This book argues for an intersectional approach to understanding janana life worlds and situates janana subjectivity in dialogue with social, cultural, linguistic, and legal happenings. In engaging with the full complexity of janana identities and experience, Ila Nagar calls for a reassessment of gender categories and a new understanding of power and sexuality amidst emerging Indian modernities.

Derived from ethnographic research conducted over a period of twelve years, this book also reflects on the interaction between social actors and researchers, and critically examines the use of ethnography as a method in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. It will be of interest to scholars from Anthropology, Asian Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and Linguistics.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Entering the world of jananas; 2. Janana stories: Living as a janana; 3. Jananas and hijras: Perpetual conflict and attraction; 4. The janana community of practice: How the janana world works; 5. Negotiating identity through varying gender marking; 6. To feel like a woman: Violence and formation of the janana subject; 7. Janana subalterns; 8. Epilogue.

About the Author

Ila Nagar is Assistant Professor of Hindi and South Asian Cultures at The Ohio State University, USA.

About the Series

Theorizing Ethnography

Concept, Context, Critique

The Theorizing Ethnography book series seeks to reorient ethnographic engagements across disciplines, methods and ways of knowing. By focusing on ethnography as a point of tension between abstract thinking and situated life-worlds, the series promotes ethnographic method and writing as an analytical form that is always partial, open-ended and epistemologically querying.

Theorizing Ethnography employs 'concept', 'context' and 'critique' as devices to stimulate creative ethnographic thinking that transects lines of analysis and location. We publish work that reaches beyond academic, political and life-world divisions, and as such the series fosters contributions from across socially and critically engaged fields of practice. We welcome proposals for single-authored and multi-authored full-length monographs, as well as high quality edited volumes of disciplinary and trans-disciplinary resonance.

Possible themes include:
• The politics of knowledge, cultures of classification and borders of being
• Traffic in situated forms of knowledge and meta-theory
• Nature-cultures, emergent ecologies, and interspecies thinking
• Subjectivities, desires, and aspirations
• Materiality, infrastructures, futures
• Relations, sedimentation, emergence
• Queer, feminist, decolonial and otherwise critical ethnographies


Elisabeth L. Engebretsen:
E.J. Gonzalez-Polledo:
Silvia Posocco:

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General