Sexuality, Abjection and Queer Existence in Contemporary India  book cover
1st Edition

Sexuality, Abjection and Queer Existence in Contemporary India

Edited By

Pushpesh Kumar

ISBN 9781138553149
Published July 30, 2021 by Routledge India
272 Pages

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Book Description

This volume explores existing and emerging sexual cultures of contemporary India and the predicaments faced by abjected and sexual marginalities. It traces the sexual politics within popular culture, literary genres, advertisement, consumerism, globalizing cities, social movements, law, scientific research, the Hijra community life, (alternative) families and kinship and sites that define the cultural other whose sexual practices or identities fall beyond normative moral conventions. The chapters examine a range of connected sociological and political issues including questions of agency, judgments around intimate sexual relationships, the role of the state, popular understandings of adolescent romance, notion of legitimacy and stigma, moral policing and resistance, body politics and marginality, representations in popular and folk culture, sexual violence and freedom, problems with historiography, structural inequalities, queer erotica, gay consumerism, Hijra suicides and marriage and divorce. The volume also proposes certain transformative possibilities towards envisioning and (re)scripting sexual equalities.

This interdisciplinary book will be important for those interested in sexuality studies, queer studies, gender studies, cultural studies, sociology, law, history, literature and Global South studies as well as policymakers, civil society activists and nongovernmental organizations working in the area.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Radhika Chopra



Pushpesh Kumar

Part 1

The Hegemonic and the Counter-hegemonic: Abjection, Misogyny, Resistance and Sexual Agency within the ‘Heteronormative’

1. Sexuality and Unlettered Women: Images from Bhojpuri Folksongs

Asha Singh

2. Nothing Much Happened: Rethinking Heterosexual Middle-Class Adolescent Boys’ Romance in Mumbai

Ketaki Chowkhani

3. Body Politics and Marginality: Understanding the Predicaments of Kalavanthulu

Asima Jena

4. No Place for the Obscene: Debates on Playboy Club in South Asia

Pranoo Deshraju and Pushpesh Kumar

5. Laughter and Abjection: The Politics of Comedy in Malayalam Cinema

Tony Sebastian

6. The Kiss of Love Protests: A Report on Resistance to Abjection in Kerala

J. Devika


Part 2

Glimpses from Contemporary Queer India: Destabilizing/Altering/Transforming or Normativizing?

7. Familiarizing the Unfamiliar in Marriage: The Case of Sodomy as a Ground for Divorce

Saptarshi Mandal

8. Risk and Pleasure: A Case for Queer Erotica

Brinda Bose

9. Finding (Homo)Sexuality in the Genome: A Critique of Genetic Investigations on Sexuality

Sayantan Datta

10. A Life Worth Telling: Love and Suicide in Hijra Lives

Meghana Rao

11. Family Beyond Blood and Marriage: Queer Intimacies and Personal Law

Chayanika Shah

12. A Brief Prehistory of Queer Freedom in the New India

Oishik Sircar


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Pushpesh Kumar teaches at the Department of Sociology, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India. His research focuses on queer movement, queer religion, transgender-mobilization, queer consumerism and Marxism and queer theory. He serves on the international advisory board of the Community Development Journal.