Gender, Sexuality, Decolonization : South Asia in the World Perspective book cover
1st Edition

Gender, Sexuality, Decolonization
South Asia in the World Perspective

Edited By

Ahonaa Roy

ISBN 9781003025474
Published December 28, 2020 by Routledge India
326 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book presents a new approach to the understanding of non-normative sexuality and gender transgressive modes in South Asia and South Asian diaspora. It reconceives sexual representation from the point of view of the theoretical, political and empirical trajectories of decolonization, provincialization and neoliberalism to look at the role of historical contingency, postcolonial sexual politics and gender and sexual diversity. The volume brings together anthropological, historical, material and political analyses around South Asian sexual politics by exploring a range of themes, including culture, class, ethnicity, identity, intersectionality, migration, borders, diaspora, modernity and cosmopolitanism across various local, regional and global contexts.

By using southern/non-Western and subaltern theorizations of gender and sexuality, the book discusses South Asian sexualities through issues such as the sexual politics of indeterminacy; sexual subculture, iconography and political decision-making; religious identity; queer South Asian diaspora; decolonizing the postcolonial body; sexual politics, gender and feminist debates; discrimination, and socio-political violence; the political economy of empowerment; and critical appropriation of the 377 Indian Penal Code. It also builds forms of dialogues to bridge the gap between academic and development practitioners.

With diverse case studies and a fresh theoretical framework, this book will be an essential read for scholars and researchers of South Asian studies, gender studies, sexuality studies, sociology and social anthropology, political studies, diaspora studies, postcolonial and global south studies.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Gayatri Gopinath



Ahonaa Roy


PART I. Colonial Knowledge and Postcolonial Multiplicities

Chapter 1

Religion, Ritual Power, Exclusion and Marginality: Gender Transgressive Shivashaktis in Telangana, Southern India

Pushpesh Kumar and Archana Rao M

Chapter 2

Uncertain Grammars, Ambiguous Desires: Towards a Sexual Politic of Indeterminacy in Sri Lanka

Themal Ellawala

Chapter 3

Twenty-Five Years after Dominic D’Souza: What Happens when your Queer Icon Refuses to Be?

R. Benedito Ferrão

Chapter 4

The Iconography of Hindu(ized) Hijras: Idioms of Hijra Representation in Northern India

Arpita Phukan Biswas

Chapter 5

"A Normal Person Cannot Be Made Queer": The Immorality Act (Amendment) Commission of 1968 in Apartheid South Africa

Vasu Reddy


PART II. Transnational Migrations and Diasporic Linkages

Chapter 6

"I Want a Yaar": Pakistani Muslim American Gay Men and Transnational Same-Sex Sexual Cultures in the West

Ahmed Afzal

Chapter 7

Decolonizing the Postcolonial Body in Diasporic Time and Space: South Asians in the Caribbean

Krystal Nandini Ghisyawan

Chapter 8

Intersectionality and South Asian Non-Normative Sexualities: The Case of South Asian Lesbians and Bisexual Women in the United Kingdom

Anna Fry, Surya Monro and Vicki Smith

Chapter 9

Trans/Queer South Asian Diaspora in the United Kingdom: Whose "Regimes of the Normal" Does "Queer" Critique?

Shamira A. Meghani


PART III. Global Economization of Sexualities and Gender Transgressing Politics

Chapter 10

Trans South: Practical Bases for Trans Internationalism

Raewyn Connell

Chapter 11

On the Limits and Possibilities of LGBTI Politics: Contextualizing Socio-Political Violence and Political Transitions in South America

José Fernando Serrano-Amaya

Chapter 12

Understanding Gender in Nepal: Concepts and Practices

Gyanu Chhetri

Chapter 13

Operationalizing the "New" Pakistani Transgender Citizen: Legal Gendered Grammars and Trans Frames of Feeling

Sara Shroff

Chapter 14

The Political Economy of Empowerment: Microfinance, Middle Class and the Sexual Subculture in Contemporary Bangladesh

Ahonaa Roy


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Ahonaa Roy teaches at the School of Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India. A social anthropologist, with MA and DPhil (University of Sussex), she previously taught at the Delhi School of Economics, Department of Sociology. She was previously appointed at the Ministry of Health and has been member of the National Urban Health Mission, Government of India. Ahonaa has been part of several projects with the United Nations, USAID and Government of India. Her research interests include gender and sexuality, medical anthropology, community health and sexual health, anthropology of the body and embodiment, postcolonial studies, postmodern feminist studies and Southern theories. Her book The Making of the Cosmopolitan is forthcoming in 2021.


‘This is an important and groundbreaking book which brings together scholarly work on gender, sexuality and sexual politics from across South Asia and its diasporas. Interrogating the colonial and postcolonial contexts as well as the possibilities for radical futures, the essays demonstrate the power of ethnography in throwing new light on sexual identity and politics.’

Katy J. Gardner, Professor of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, UK

‘This timely anthology calls for a thorough recalibration of the epistemologies through which we understand sexuality and sexual politics in global South Asia. The essays critically engage postcolonial, transnational, and de-colonial critiques to ask a set of provocative questions around what it means to produce theory from the south. The volume centres "trouble, breakages and ruptures" to explore both political and aesthetic practices of negotiation and subversion. With a firm accent on plurality, the anthology offers new possibilities of negotiating racialized, sexualized, and gendered forms of resistance. This will be an invaluable resource, not least because it brings into conversation a remarkable set of interlocutors engaged in the critical work of border crossing.’ 

Dina M Siddiqi, Clinical Associate Professor, Global Liberal Studies, New York University, USA

‘There has been a surge of sorts in South Asian scholarship on sexual and gender diversity, but this anthology is like no other: it features an astonishing array of incisive contributions from across the subcontinent that engage the reader with the latest in decolonial, intersectional and radical thinking about sexual and gender-non-conformity. A towering, once-in-a-generation achievement!’

Vanja Hamzić, Senior Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK