Sexuality, Gender Identity and Sedition

Organizers: Svati Shah and Krupa Shandilya

Thursday, October 20, 2016
Capitol Ballroom B

The past several years have been a time of extreme change with respect to the ways in which the concepts of “gender” and “sexuality” produce, articulate and critique the idea of “South Asia.” At the same time, there is a long history of feminists tracking and critiquing the ways in which the production of gender identity and sexuality have been at the heart of conceiving South Asian nationalisms. This feminist preconference theme draws on this longstanding history, as well as drawing on feminist engagements with and reliance on the notion of dissent, to ask where and how questions of gender identity and sexuality intersect with, push, complicate, or abdicate the question of ‘sedition’? This is a particularly timely topic, given the ways in which accusations of ‘national’ and ‘anti-national’ are wielded by representatives of the state with startling and unmitigated force throughout the region, including, over the past several years, in a number of India’s top universities. The persistence of the anti-sedition law throughout South Asia, and its uses to quell political dissent and protest, is the provocation for this preconference, as is the longstanding question, at the heart of discourses on sedition and feminist debates on sexuality, about the relationship between speech and action. This preconference aims to provide a space for asking how might we think of “sedition” in the context of the intersections and divisions between gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender politics and ways of being, within the current political climate in South Asia, and in other parts of the world? How might sedition and dissent provide frameworks for thinking of feminist work in with respect to sexuality and gender identity in history, visual art, and literature? What might the relevance of these “seditions” be in the context of rethinking disciplinary frameworks?

2016 Feminist Pre-Conference Schedule

7:30 am - 8:30 am: Coffee and light breakfast

8:30am-8:45am: “Gender, Sexuality and Sedition in South Asia: Terms of Engagement”
Svati Shah, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Krupa Shandilya, Amherst College

8:45am—10:15am: Gender, Sedition and the Queer nation
Moderator: Krupa Shandilya, Amherst College
Sayan Bhattacharya, University of Minnesota   - Risking Gender(s): Sedition and the Queer Nation
Rushaan Kumar, Pomona College – “Pinki Pramanik, Gender Fraud and Other Possibilities of Queer Belonging”
Faris A. Khan, Brandeis University - Khwaja Sira: Dissent, Sex/Gender Activism, and State Regulation in Pakistan

10:15 am - 10:30 am:  Coffee break

10:30am-12:00pm: Uses of Sedition
Moderator: Geeta Patel, University of Virginia
Kareem Khubchandani, Tufts University – “Desire, Migration, and the Makings of a Movement”
Nishant Shahani, Washington State University- “Queer Jurisprudence during Seditious Times: Re-visiting the Case of Ramchandra Siras”
Anjali Arondekar, University of California, Santa Cruz and Kavita Philip, University of California, Irvine - “California Dreamin': The Seditious Diaspora”

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm: Combined Lunch with Queer Pre-con

1:30pm-3pm: Women, Sex and Body Politics
Moderator: Inderpal Grewal, Yale University
Pinky Hota, Smith College - "Sex Panics and Hindu Nationalism: The Bodily Politics of Disregulation"
Sareeta Amrute, University of Washington - "Widow Remarriage Beyond Nationalist Discourse"
Mythri Jegathesan, Santa Clara University - "Discomforting the State: Narratives of Women's Labor, Reproductive Capacity, and Sexuality in Postwar Sri Lanka"

3pm-4:30pm: Sex, Gender Activism and State Regulation
Moderator: Svati Shah, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Ania Loomba, University of Pennsylvania – “Sedition, Sexuality and Revolution”
Aniruddha Dutta, University of Iowa – “Dissenting Differently: Solidarities and Tensions between Student Organizing & Trans-Queer Activism in eastern India”
Dina Siddiqi, BRAC University – “Hierarchies of Suffering, Seditious Sexualities and Unmournable Bodies”

4:45pm-5:15pm: “Queer in the Times of Sedition” Poetry Reading
Akhil Katyal, University of Iowa

5:30pm - 6:30 pm: Combined Reception with Queer Pre-Con