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In the Absence of Reliable Ghosts: Sexuality, Historiography, South Asia with Anjali Arondekar

March 28, 2013 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Anjali Arondekar
Associate Professor of Feminist Studies and Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz

Ritu Birla
Associate Professor, Department of History and Director, CSAS, University of Toronto

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Histories of sexuality routinely mediate past(s) through archival forms of marginality, disenfranchisement and loss. In the specific case of South Asia, sexuality is rescued from the detritus of hegemonic histories of colonialism and nationalism and placed within more reparative narratives of reform and rights. This talk engages two key questions: What if we are to shift our attention from the reading of sexuality as marginality to understanding it as a site of vitalized abundance – even futurity? What happens if we abandon the historical language of search and rescue and focus instead on a history of sexuality that paradoxically foregrounds both its unreliability and its ethical substance?

Anjali Arondekar is Associate Professor of Feminist Studies and Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research engages the poetics and politics of sexuality, colonialism and historiography, with a focus on South Asia. She is the author of For the Record: On Sexuality and the Colonial Archive in India (Duke University Press, 2009), winner of the Alan Bray Memorial Book Award for best book in lesbian, gay, or queer studies in literature and cultural studies, Modern Language Association (MLA), 2010. Her second book-project, Margins of Desire: Sexuality, Historiography, South Asia, grows out of her interest in the figurations of sexuality, ethics and collectivity in colonial British and Portuguese India.


March 28, 2013
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


108N, North House
Munk School of Global Affairs 1 Devonshire Place