Sexuality in India offers an expression of nationalist anxieties and is a significant marker of modernity through which subjectivities are formed among the middle class. This book investigates the everyday experience of queer Indian men on digital spaces. It explores how queer identities are formed in virtual spaces and how the existence of such spaces challenge and critique ‘Indian’-ness. It also looks at the role of class and intimacy within the discourse. This work argues that new media, social networking sites (SNSs), both web and mobile, and related technologies do not exist in isolation; rather they are critically embedded within other social spaces. Similarly, online queer spaces exist parallel to and in conjunction with the larger queer movement in the country.
This book will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of gender studies, especially men's and masculinity studies, queer and LGBT studies, media and cultural studies, particularly new media and digital culture, sexuality and identity, politics, sociology and social anthropology, and South Asian studies.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations. Acknowledgements. Glossary. Introduction 1. Postcolonial Residues and Contemporary Context 2. Media, Diversity and Emergence of the Cyberqueer in India 3. Virtual Intimacies on Digital Queer Platforms 4. ‘Imagined’ Queer Communities 5. Effeminophobia, Straight Acting and Global Queering 6. Dissident Citizenship Conclusion: Pleasures and politics of researching new queer media Appendixes. Bibliography. Index
Rohit K. Dasgupta is Lecturer in Media and Creative Industries at Loughborough University, UK. He has previously lectured at the University of Southampton and University of the Arts, London. He is the co-editor of Masculinity and Its Challenges in India (2014) and Rituparno Ghosh: Cinema, Gender and Art (2015), and has published essays in journals such as Convergence: International Journal of New Media Technologies; Digital Culture and Education; Economic and Political Weekly; Film Quarterly; International Journal of Fashion Studies; Theory, Culture and Society; South Asian History and Culture; and South Asian Review.
‘A timely and fascinating exploration of how new virtual worlds expand, speed up and transform the wide range of cross-class, interlingual and inter-regional networks and relationships among queer men in India.’
Ruth Vanita, Professor, Liberal Studies & Humanities, University of Montana, USA and author of Love's Rite: Same-Sex Marriage in India and the West
‘In Digital Queer Cultures in India, Rohit Dasgupta examines the formation of contemporary middle-class Indian male queer subjectivities through language, class, intimacy and activism in both physical and virtual space. He combines his study of queer websites with fieldwork, employing the delightfully named methodology of ‘lurking’, mostly in Kolkata. This study is important also for its reconsideration of the concept of a ‘queer community’ in India, contextualising it among other social changes post-liberalisation. It will be of great interest to students of media and queer studies as well as to those involved in the wider study of sexuality and identity in today’s India.’
Rachel Dwyer, Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema, SOAS University of London, UK and author of Bollywood's India: Hindi Cinema as a Guide to Contemporary India
‘Dasgupta’s groundbreaking interrogation of digital media usage in queer India identifies how and why the themes of nationality, class, gender and sexuality must always be central to the analysis of media engagement.’
Sharif Mowlabocus, Senior Lecturer of Media and Digital Media, University of Sussex, UK and author of Gaydar Culture: Gay Men, Technology and Embodiment in the Digital Age
‘This work by Rohit Dasgupta is very timely and necessary. It is a must-read for anyone in South Asian studies, digital culture studies, internet research, media studies, queer studies and many other interdisciplinary areas of research. The background and historical context for digital queer India are mapped in detail and clearly take us through the main theoretical frameworks, the media and social policy histories and the engagement of issues to do with LGBTQ populations in India.’
Radhika Gajjala, Professor of Media and Communication, Bowling Green State University, USA and author of Cyberselves: Feminist Ethnographies of South Asian Women