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Shimmers of the Fabulous: Intimate Touch and Public Sex in Queer and Trans Bombay

Brian A. Horton, Brandeis University

April 13, 2023 · 4:30 am6:00 pm · A71 Louis A. Simpson Building

M. S. Chadha Center for Global India

In Bombay’s cruising parks, gay parties, pride events, and virtual spaces—what Brian Horton call queer sexpublics—queer sex, touch, and intimacy flourish. Though queer and trans people perpetually negotiate risk and rejection in search of love, sex and intimacy, queer sexpublics enable practices that allow them to both endure as well as play with state and social violences. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in queer and trans spaces in Bombay between 2013 and 2019, this talk asks: How might queer and trans lives be lived outside of and against the reaches of cultural intelligibility and legal and social recognition? And how might queer studies and anthropology engage this abundance of life in the face of violence, risk, and erasure as a means of recognizing minoritarian lives not just in the moments when they are in crisis, but also when they brim with unbridled possibilities? In thinking with his interlocutors’ desires to touch and be touched, Horton examine queer life not just thorough premature foreclosures or violence, but also through creative practices that seek to extend life and its immanent possibilities.

Brian A. Horton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Brandeis University. He is also an affiliated faculty member in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, South Asian Studies, and African and African American Studies. His research and teaching broadly focus on sexual, gender, and racial minority subjects (in India and the US) and the social worlds that they build at the interstices of recognition and discrimination.

Join us for Chai + samosa at 4 pm

This event is part of the ‘Power, Inequality, Dissent’ series led by Prof. Divya Cherian (History) and Dr. Harini Kumar (History/CGI).

Co-sponsored by the Program in South Asian Studies, the Department of Anthropology, and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies.

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