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Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Perverse Modernities)by Gayatri Gopinath
Synopses & Reviews
By bringing queer theory to bear on ideas of diaspora, Gayatri Gopinath produces both a more compelling queer theory and a more nuanced understanding of diaspora. Focusing on queer female diasporic subjectivity, Gopinath develops a theory of diaspora apart from the logic of blood, authenticity, and patrilineal descent that she argues invariably forms the core of conventional formulations. She examines South Asian diasporic literature, film, and music in order to suggest alternative ways of conceptualizing community and collectivity across disparate geographic locations. Her agile readings challenge nationalist ideologies by bringing to light that which has been rendered illegible or impossible within diaspora: the impure, inauthentic, and nonreproductive.
Gopinath juxtaposes diverse texts to indicate the range of oppositional practices, subjectivities, and visions of collectivity that fall outside not only mainstream narratives of diaspora, colonialism, and nationalism but also most projects of liberal feminism and gay and lesbian politics and theory. She considers British Asian music of the 1990s alongside alternative media and cultural practices. Among the fictional works she discusses are V. S. Naipaulandrsquo;s classic novel A House for Mr. Biswas, Ismat Chughtaiandrsquo;s short story andldquo;The Quilt,andrdquo; Monica Aliandrsquo;s Brick Lane, Shyam Selvaduraiandrsquo;s Funny Boy, and Shani Mootooandrsquo;s Cereus Blooms at Night. Analyzing films including Deepa Mehtaandrsquo;s controversial Fire and Mira Nairandrsquo;s Monsoon Wedding, she pays particular attention to how South Asian diasporic feminist filmmakers have reworked Bollywoodandrsquo;s strategies of queer representation and to what is lost or gained in this process of translation. Gopinathandrsquo;s readings are dazzling, and her theoretical framework transformative and far-reaching.
"Boldly spanning Hindi film, British Asian music, Urdu literature, diasporic postcolonial literature and film, U.S. queer activism, and feminist politics, Gayatri Gopinath argues that queer desire becomes central to the ways in which national and diasporic histories are told when the erotics of power is acknowledged. "Impossible Desires" is a deft demonstration of both queer theory's dominant ethnocentrism and diaspora and postcolonial studies' heteronormativity and androcentrism."--Ranjana Khanna, author of "Dark Continents: Psychoanalysis and Colonialism"
Argues for the uses of queer, feminist transnational theory in order to understanding South Asian and South Asian diasporic identities and cultural production.
About the Author
Gayatri Gopinath is Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies at the University of California, Davis.
Table of Contents
1. Impossible Desires: An Introduction 1
2. Communities of Sound: Queering South Asian Popular Music in the Diaspora 29
3. Surviving Naipaul: Housing Masculinity in A House for Mr. Biswas, Surviving Sabu, and East Is East 63
4. Bollywood/Hollywood: Queer Cinematic Representation and the Perils of Translation 93
5. Local Sites/Global Contexts: The Transnational Trajectories of Fire and andquot;The Quiltandquot; 131
6. Nostalgia, Desire, and Diaspora: Funny Boy and Cereus Blooms at Night 161
7. Epilogue: Queer Homes in Diaspora 187
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