Research

Broadly, my interests are in exploring literary constructions of subjectivity and identity, and intersections of sexuality, gender and ethnicity/race in relation to narratives of imperialism, nationalism and liberal-humanist ideologies. My specific focus is on the theory and construction of the body and dissident gender, desire and sexuality in South Asian texts. I work on literary texts in English from the late nineteenth century to the present, and film from 'Bollywood', the South Asian diaspora, and Indian art cinema.


My doctoral research for Queering Postcolonial South Asian Nationalisms: Transgressive Archetypes in Narratives of the Nation was on late-nineteenth to twenty-first century South Asian texts and their transgressive mythological intertexts. The thesis explored queer archetypes and their recurrence in anti-colonial and postcolonial nationalist narratives to deconstruct fixed and normative gender and sexualities. I worked on texts articulating the idea of the nation, in particular Bankimchandra Chatterjee's nineteenth century nationalist novel, Anandamath and Shashi Tharoor's The Great Indian Novel as well as Indian film ranging from the 1970s to the present day. Critically focused through postcolonial and queer theory, the thesis uses close reading techniques and locates the novels and films in their historical contexts to argue that advances in gender, and more recently, sexual, equality have been accompanied by narrowed representations of non-heteronormative gender and sexual intimacy. 

 

I have begun research on twentieth and contemporary South Asian texts that explore constructions of homoerotic desire in relation to the ‘low-Other’. This considers the ways in which low-caste and underclass people are positioned in recent queer texts and draws on discussions of how liberal democratic Indian politics engages with non-heteronormative sexuality, globalisation and liberalism, and how the idea of the nation is again being re-written.