1st Edition

COVID-19 Assemblages Queer and Feminist Ethnographies from South Asia

Edited By Niharika Banerjea, Paul Boyce, Rohit K. Dasgupta Copyright 2022
    208 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    208 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    208 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    This book documents and analyzes the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic through queer and feminist perspectives. A testament of dispossessions as well as a celebration of various forms of resilience, community building and critical responses, it chronicles the social history of queer and trans persons and women in South Asia and the diasporas.

    Through a creative and collaborative form of ethnographic writing, the book enters in conversation with the worlds of domestic helps, caregivers, cultural workers, students, sex workers and other precariously employed people. It examines the confining effects of the pandemic on the lived realities of many queer and trans individuals, the caste-oppressed and women across socio-economic backgrounds. The chapters in the volume piece together narratives of prejudice, hardship, self-expression and resistance from interviews, personal accounts, as well as poems and stories from activists, artists and other collaborators. The book pays particular attention to issues of power and asymmetrical relationships amidst COVID-19 and offers critiques to deepen the understanding of the uneven fault lines within which historically oppressed persons reside in South Asia.

    Exploring themes of migration, disability and sexual politics, this book is an essential reading for scholars and researchers of gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, South Asian studies, sociology and social anthropology.

    Notes on the Contributors

    Foreword by Jasbir K. Puar



    I: Introduction

    Niharika Banerjea, Paul Boyce and Rohit K Dasgupta

    II: Testaments, Memories, Epistemic Terrains

    1 Looming

    Santa Khurai

    2 Transnational Entanglements of Geopolitical, Pandemic and Intimate Citizenship

    Dhiren Borisa and Gavin Brown

    3 House maids, Urban Spacing and Negotiating the ‘Other’ During Covid Times

    Amrita Ghosh

    4 Reimaging the Migrant in the Time of the Pandemic

    Darshana S. Mini and Anirban K. Baishya

    5 The Forbidden Word _ the life during COVID 19

    Moshfec Ara

    6 Fragmented Realities of the Pandemic: The Multiple Marginalities of Disabled People in India

    Nandini Ghosh

    7 Desi Woman and Higher Education in the UK: Affect and Effect of Covid-19 

    Rittika Dasgupta and Naseeba Umar

    8 Queer Patchworks: Liveability, Creative Work and Survival in the time of COVID

    Rohit K Dasgupta

    9 Untitled: I Am Still Becoming

    [Kya title bolon? Main tho abhi bhi badal rahan hoon]

    Tripta Chandola

    10 Remembering COVID-19

    Paul Boyce and Raina Roy

    11 Metaphor of contagion: The impact of Covid-19 on the Hijras in Bangladesh

    Adnan Hossain

    III: Un-belonging, Survival, Resistance

    12 Stateless Beings

    Danny Coyle

    13 The Pandemic and Us – Thoughts on Queer Living and Building Social Connections

    Poushali, Madhurima, Koyel, Reshmi, Archee, Kolika, Debika

    14 Queer in Transit – (Un)settlement and Precarity in Times of COVID-19

    Debjyoti Ghosh

    15 From #dalitlivesmatters to #mysatyagraha: Nepali Transnational Youth Activism during the Covid-19 pandemic

    Premila van Ommen

    16 Pandemic Life of Sexual and Gender Minorities of Sri Lanka

    Thiyagaraja Waradas

    17 Virus that Does not Discriminate but a System that Does: Gender [X] Pakistan

    Hena Ali and Rubban Shakeel

    18 A Home-in-Making: Risk, Longing and Responsibility in Lockdown

    Niharika Banerjea and Sumita Beethi

    19 Of Epidemics and Queer Friendships from Manipur in India.

    Kumam Davidson

    20 Untitled

    Queer Rights Collective, Nepal



    Niharika Banerjea is Associate Professor in the School of Liberal Studies at Ambedkar University Delhi.

    Paul Boyce is Reader in Anthropology at the University of Sussex.

    Rohit K Dasgupta is a Senior Lecturer in Cultural Industries at the University of Glasgow and Commissioner for Social Integration and Equalities in the London Borough of Newham.


    'COVID-19 Assemblages provides timely and critical insight on how the pandemic has produced incisive scholarship on gender, sexuality and health during a global crisis. Bringing together a broad range of interdisciplinary scholarship the book sheds important light on the struggle to find the means to represent intimacy, collaboration and empowerment during a time of enforced social distancing, alienation and isolation.'

    Joseph Alter, Professor of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh.

    'COVID-19 Assemblages is one of the first anthologies that examines the pandemic ethnographically. Offering a remarkable set of quotidian and critical perspectives on the severely exacerbated modes of stratification and precarity that ordinary people have met with extraordinary grace, this book is a testament to unfolding possibilities of ethnographic critique and patchwork assemblages deployed through the prism of queer feminism.' 

    Svati Shah, Associate Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst.