Bodies and Spaces
a conversation with Dhiren Borisa & Svati Shah; moderated by Madhavi Menon
September 28 2021, Tuesday, 11:30 am ET (9 pm IT)
Urban spaces dictate the parameters of access and the spatial demarcations of desire in relation to bodies, sex and sexuality. What used to be a cruising site at a park in New Delhi is now a national monument with gated entries and exits, and well-manicured lawns. What used to be pornographic theatres in New York from the 60s to the 90s are now morally sanitized spaces. How do bodies and spaces map onto one another in terms of moral and sexual hygiene? What is a sanitary space in the metropolis, and whose is a healthy body? The Covid-19 pandemic has not only foregrounded the question of what counts as a diseased body, but it has also circumscribed which bodies can go where. This panel will think about these spatial frameworks within which bodies find themselves in the world today, and ask about the histories that have gone into bringing us here.
Svati Shah is an anthropologist whose work is primarily ethnographic. Theoretically, her work engages with Marxist geography, via Lefebvrian critiques of the production of space, queer and transgender cultural studies, postcolonialism, anthropological critiques of ‘worlding,’ affect, and sexuality assemblages as they pertain to temporality and post-nationalism.
Dhiren Borisa’s research focuses on cruising parks and queer nightlife, massage parlours and LGBT* activist forums in Delhi. It brings into light the daily negotiations and caste, class and gendered hierarchies implicit in these queer spaces, pushing the field of Human Geography in South Asia to newer challenges posed by Queer and Anti-Caste Studies.
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Part of the Theory and Practice: Transnational Conversations on Gender and Sexuality webinar series — a collaboration between the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University and the Centre for Studies of Gender and Sexuality at Ashoka University (New Delhi) — aimed at TAP-ping into critical and creative energies from around the world, to expand the intellectual and geographical ambit of our conversations around gender and sexuality in relation to politics, rhetoric, and history.
Organized by the Centre for Studies of Gender and Sexuality at Ashoka University and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University.