Skip to main content

Utopia or Elsewhere: Queer Modernities in Small Town West Bengal

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Urban Utopias

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Urban Anthropology ((PSUA))

Abstract

This chapter is based on collaborative ethnographic work conducted in Siliguri and Barasat, regional towns in West Bengal, India. We explore concerns around ‘liveable lives’ and social visibility in terms of explicit same-sex sexualities in these contexts, seeking to understand such lives as a part of ordinary and wider social discourses and practices concerning belonging and difference. This chapter looks at the experiences of those who might be imagined as queer subjects but who are pushed to the margins of prevailing narratives of queer utopian aspiration in India, for being too regional, peri-urban or rural, bodies and subjects in excess of urban narratives of acceptable difference.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Ahmed, Sara. 2010. The Promise of Happiness. Ann Arbor: Duke University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Banerjea, Niharika, Kath Brown, Leela Bakshi, and Subhagata Ghosh. 2016. Writing through Activisms and Academia: Challenges and Possibilities. In The Routledge Research Companion to Geographies of Sex and Sexualities, ed. G. Brown and K. Browne. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Barton, Bernadette. 2013. Pray the Gay Away. New York: New York University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beaumont, M. 2010. Reinterpreting Oscar Wilde’s Concept of Utopia: The Soul of Man Under Socialism. The Soul of Man: Oscar Wilde and Socialism—and ‘OSCHOLARS’ Special Issues—Spring http://www.oscholars.com/TO/Specials/Soul/Soul-Beaumont.htm

  • Bloch, Ernst. 1986. The Principle of Hope, 3 vols. Trans. Neville Plaice, Stephen Plaice and Paul Knight. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Boyce, Paul. 2007. (Dis)locating Men Who Have Sex With Men in Calcutta: Subject, Space and Perception. In The Phobic and the Erotic: The Politics of Sexualities in Contemporary India, ed. B. Bose and S. Bhattacharyya, 399–416. Kolkata: Seagull Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • _____. 2013a. The Object of Attention: Same-Sex Sexualities in Small-Town India and the Contemporary Sexual Subject. In Sexuality Studies, ed. S. Srivastava, 183–202. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • _____. 2013b. The Ambivalent Sexual Subject: HIV Prevention and Male-to-Male Intimacy in India. In Understanding Global Sexualities: New Frontiers, ed. Peter Aggleton, Paul Boyce, Henrietta Moore, and Richard Parker. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Boyce, Paul, and Aniruddha Dutta. 2013. Vulnerability of Gay and Lesbian Indians Goes Way Beyond Section 377. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/vulnerability-of-gay-and-transgender-indians-goes-way-beyond-section-377-21392

  • Califia, Pat. 1994. Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex. California: Cleis Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dasgupta, Rohit K. 2014. Parties, Advocacy and Activism: Interrogating Community and Class in Digital Queer India. In Queer Youth and Media Cultures, ed. C. Pullen, 265–277. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dasgupta Rohit, K. 2015. Articulating Dissident Citizenship, Belonging, and Queerness on Cyberspace. South Asian Review 35(3): 203–223.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dasgupta, Rohit K. forthcoming. Digital Queer Cultures of India: Politics, Intimacies and Belonging. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dutta, Aniruddha. 2012. An Epistemology of Collusion: Hijras, Kothis and the Historical (Dis) Continuity of Gender/Sexual Identities in Eastern India. Gender & History Special Issue: Gender History Across Epistemologies 24 (3): 825–849.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eagleton, Terry. 2011. Why Marx Was Right? New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Edelman, Lee. 2004. No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive. Ann Arbor: Duke University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Engebretsen, Elizabeth L. 2012. On Urban Anthropology in Contemporary China. In Anthropology in the City: Methodology and Theory, ed. I. Pardo and G. Prato, 191–213. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Foucault, Michel. 1990. The History of Sexuality Vol. 1. New York: Vintage Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hajratwala, Minal. 2012. Out: Stories from the New Queer India. Mumbai: Queer Ink.

    Google Scholar 

  • Halberstam, Judith Jack. 2011. The Queer Art of Failure. Durham: Duke University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Henderson, Lisa. 2013. Love and Money: Queers, Class, and Cultural Production. New York: New York University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jones, Angela. 2013. A Critical Enquiry into Queer Utopias. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Manalansan, Martin. 2003. Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora. Ann Arbor: Duke University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Munoz, Jose. 2009. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York: New York University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nagar, Ila, and Debanuj Dasgupta. 2015. Public Koti and Private Love: Section 377, Religion, Perversity and Lived Desire. Contemporary South Asia 23(4): 426–441.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nandy, Ashish. 2009. The Intimate Enemy: The Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism. New Delhi: Oxford University Press India.

    Google Scholar 

  • Narrain, Arivind, and Alok Gupta, ed. 2011. Law Like Love: Queer Perspectives on Law. Delhi: Yoda Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Osella, Caroline, and Filippo Osella. 2006. Men and Masculinities in South Asia. London: Anthem Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Puar, Jasbir. 2007. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Ann Arbor: Duke University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Shahani, Parmesh. 2008. GayBombay: Globalisation, Love and Belonging in Contemporary India. New Delhi: Sage.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Sinha, Mrinalini. 1995. Colonial Masculinity: The ‘manly Englishman’ and The’ Effeminate Bengali’ in the Late Nineteenth Century. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Srivastava, Sanjay. 2004. Introduction: Semen, History, Desire and Theory. In Sexual Sites, Seminal Attitudes: Sexualities, Masculinities and Culture in South Asia, ed. Sanjay Srivastava. New Delhi: Sage Publications.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Weston, Kath. 1995. Get Thee to a Big City: Sexual Imaginary and the Great Gay Migration. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 2(3): 253–277.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilde, Oscar. 1891. The Soul of Man Under Socialism. London: Arthur L. Humpreys.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2017 The Author(s)

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Boyce, P., Dasgupta, R.K. (2017). Utopia or Elsewhere: Queer Modernities in Small Town West Bengal. In: Kuldova, T., Varghese, M. (eds) Urban Utopias. Palgrave Studies in Urban Anthropology. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47623-0_11

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47623-0_11

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-47622-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-47623-0

  • eBook Packages: Social SciencesSocial Sciences (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics