Spaces of Appearance, Politics of Exposure: Queer Publics, Sexual Justice and Activism in Eastern Europe and India

  • Ameet Parameswaran
  • Milija Gluhovic
Part of the Contemporary Performance InterActions book series (CPI)


From both a historical and a theoretical point of view, the struggles for sexual justice point to the entanglement of at least three extremely complex topics: citizenship, sexuality, and rights. This chapter uses our two voices to analyse some aspects of this entanglement by bringing together different aesthetic and critical archives from Eastern Europe and India to bear upon them. We focus in particular on heated public debates about the idea of sexual freedom, the interplay between sexual and national identities, and the right of sexual minorities to public protest. We show how highly charged large-scale performances such as LGBT pride marches in Russia can be viewed as part of a broader pattern linking gender and sexuality with cultural, ethnic, and religious identity in this country. We ask: To what extent are these performative strategies of the protests as well as violent attacks against them informed by an awareness of a ‘global’ public? How has the space-time of globality itself become a central problematic in non-normative sexual assertions and aesthetic practices? Showing how performativity operates as an enacted politics, we posit that the LGBT struggles in Russia to destabilise normative ideals of community offer opportunities for a conceptual realignment of predominant ways of thinking about the religious-secular divide and its relation to sexual justice. Later in the chapter, analysing the series of paintings by one Indian visual and performance artist- Atmaja Manidas- we move from a macro-level of analysis of institutions and large-scale protests to individual imaginative interventions into alternative imaginaries of affirmation and dissent. We foreground how corporeal claims to the public sphere by sexual minorities need to be seen as affirming an extra-legal sexual citizenship based itself on the potentiality of a contemporary global public.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.University of WarwickCoventryUK

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