Kareem Khubchandani

Lunch Talk by Kareem Khubchandani: Dance Floor Divas: Fieldwork, Fabulation, and Fathoming in Queer Bangalore

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 12:00pm
Theater Department Studio


“When I tell people that I research queer nightlife in India, the response is often a surprised ‘That sounds like fun research.’ Indeed it was: drinking, flirting, and dancing were central to being in my interlocutors’ company. Dancing was especially important—for many interlocutors, dancing at these weekly gay parties in Bangalore offers middle class men significant respite from the repetitive corporate embodiments of the neoliberal city. Sweating, choreographing, and gyrating with my friends taught me how their bodies moved, made clear how they wanted mine to move, helped me fathom where their style came from, and fabulated new worlds between us. In this talk, I explore how focusing on dance allowed me to map relationships between media, labor, class, sexuality, and gender in queer Bangalore. I do so by drawing on research fieldnotes and interviews that repeatedly cite one popular song, demonstrating the variation and multiplicity that emerges from this track in the nightclub and beyond. Attending to playful engagements with this song, I show how 'fun' and 'performance' become useful optics, methods, and objects of analysis for South Asian studies.”
—Kareem Khubchandani

Kareem Khubchandani is the Mellon Bridge Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies and the Program in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Tufts University, teaching at the intersection of performance studies and queer studies. His research, performance, and teaching interests include dance studies, queer nightlife, South Asian diaspora, global queer politics, performance ethnography, critical race studies, and drag. He holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, and previously served as the inaugural Embrey Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

Sponsored by the Theater Department and the Dance Department.