“Navigating ‘Alli’ship: Notes on Queer Methods and Research Fatigue from Kerala, India”

Date / Time

April 4, 2024

3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

The UIC Institute for the Humanities‘ Queer and Trans Studies Working Group presents “Navigating ‘Alli’ship: Notes on Queer Methods and Research Fatigue from Kerala, India.”

Drawing from anthropological work looking at refusal, “thin” description, and opacity in ethnographic field work and writing, this talk will focus on working with over-researched queer and trans populations in politically engaged ways. Shilpa Parthan draws on two years of field work with the queer community in Kerala, south India, to revisit age-old questions around representation, authority and subjectivity in queer and trans studies. This talk will look critically at the tropes of familiarity and strangeness upon which we rely to perform virtuosity and authority as anthropological researchers to begin thinking about different ways of doing anthropology.

Parthan (she/her) is a PhD candidate in anthropology at the University of Illinois Chicago. Her ethnographic dissertation looks at how trans and queer people engage with, and theorize, developmentalist state power in Kerala, south India. Her work has been published in GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies (2021) and as part of the edited volume Mimetic Desires: Impersonation and Guising across South Asia (University of Hawaii Press, 2023).

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