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 conventionBy 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. Naipaul’s classic novel A House for Mr. Biswas, Ismat Chughtai’s short story “The Quilt,” Monica Ali’s Brick Lane, Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy, and Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night. Analyzing films including Deepa Mehta’s controversial Fire and Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding, she pays particular attention to how South Asian diasporic feminist filmmakers have reworked Bollywood’s strategies of queer representation and to what is lost or gained in this process of translation. Gopinath’s readings are dazzling, and her theoretical framework transformative and far-reaching....
|Title||:||Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures|
|Number of Pages||:||264 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures Reviews
the more I think & write about this book, the more I realize how rad/ical it is. Gopinath breaks down the distinction between home and diaspora, private, public and counterpublic, finding "impossible desires" & their queer expressions within the home nation (for her purposes, usually India). she places female subjectivity, desire and pleasure at the center of her inquiry, focusing on how hyperbolic femininity in Bollywood films encodes femme homoeroticism, challenging the closet paradigm with its rhetoric of visibility as the only way to enact queerness/queer critique. I am really not doing justice to the fascinating, iconoclastic cultural criticism and theorizing Gopinath does here. my only real quibble is that I think more focus on the everyday use of these cultural productions and performances, on the public/audience side of the equation, would strengthen her arguments considerably.
In Gopinath’s _Impossible Desires_, she uses the discourses of diaspora and queerness in order to trouble the heterosexual/-normative spaces created and mediated by, within the postcolonial nation-state. And unlike books such as Ngai's _Impossible Subjects_ or Lowe's _Immigrant Acts_, Gopinath’s book takes primary interest in the private/domestic rather than public, legislative arenas. In a sense, her book “places” and names the bodies that books like _Coolies and Cane_ and _Impossible Subjects_ circumvent._Impossible Desires_ opens up with Kureishi’s memorable "My Beautiful Laundrette," then heads into the “debased colonial masculinity” as rendered in _A House for Mr. Biswas_ (Naipaul) and the film, "Surviving Sabu." She also includes in her analysis the Western film hits "Bend it Like Beckham" and "Monsoon Wedding," the Bollywood film, "East is East," the remarkable short story “The Quilt,” and the more recent (and controversial)film, "Fire" (made by the Indian-Canadian film director, Deepa Mehta, 1996).Gopinath argues that projects like Naipaul’s _A House for Mr. Biswas_ repeatedly erases (by ignoring) the possibilities held within queer and feminine spaces by studying colonial/postcolonial identities through the narrow and compulsory lens of (masculine) heterosexual norms. Nair’s "Monsoon Wedding," on the other hand, conveniently capsulates queer identity into a lone (and minor) male figure, thereby pinning “queer” against feminist/female-occupied spaces (i.e. female queerness is never, simultaneously, held within the same bodies). Gopinath’s desire, then, is not only to trouble heterosexual norms, but to reimagine domestic spaces through queer female desire: “[I:]t is precisely from the vantage point of the impossible position of a queer diasporic female subjectivity that we can and must imagine diaspora and nation differently” (130). She then reapproaches the “impossible desire(s)” of female, queer space into a space of very real possibilities._Impossible Desires_ rejects modernity’s conventional notions of “escape” into “freedom” (immigration from the “third world” to the opportunity-abounding West) by “rejecting this progressive narrative of freedom through exile.” Gopinathinnovatively unpacks and studies pain (inclusion/exclusion), nostalgia, and memory as important sites that create valuable experiences. It is in these subtle, less obvious (i.e., not recognized and invisible within the heteronormative/sexual lens) that we might rework notions of “home” and identity against heteronormativity. She calls for, in a sense, a re-negotiation of voices, sights, and experiences "legitimized" within the bedroom:“home” is not merely a space that we “struggle” or “inhabit”–it exists as both, as provocations and difficulties exist alongside (and also inhabit) intimacy, love, and desire.
anything gayatri says/writes makes me salivate like a fool...
My choice to give Gayatri Gopinath’s Impossible Desires a 4 star rating stems less from how much I, a scholar who utilizes queer and postcolonial discourse in my own work, feel this work impacts me and more so from how thoroughly Gopinath articulates queer resistance to white patriarchal hegemony across South Asian texts. Since I am largely an Americanist who is concerned with African American perspectives, there is much in Gopinath’s discourse that I am unfamiliar with, so I think myself unfit to describe the wide application of her scholarship here. Yet I do think that the theoretical idea of the impossible desire that Gopinath articulates here has wider applications across queer contexts wherein any hegemonic culture places limitations on how identity may be expressed. This book may not be for everyone, but it does have relevance beyond those interested in Queer South Asian Counter-Publics.
Read a chapter of this for research
Always of interest to remain as far away from 'narrow' as possible.