Dancing Against the Law: Critical Moves in Queer Bangalore

Dancing Against the Law: Critical Moves in Queer Bangalore

Kareem Khubchandani, Professor in the Department of Drama and Dance and the Program in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Tufts University

India's rights-based LGBTQ activism--legislation, public protest, film and web production--has centered on the decriminalization of sodomy, particularly the reading down of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.  In addition to 377, queer bodies have been criminalized by other laws, including a ban on dancing in Bangalore enforced between 2005 and 2012. Understanding rights and protest through the lens of the dance-ban ins

Kareem Khubchandani is the Mellon Bridge Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Drama & Dance and the Program in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Tufts University teaching at the intersection of performance studies and queer studies. 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.

Kareem is developing several book projects include: Ishtyle: Accenting Gay Indian Nightlife (forthcoming, U. Michigan Press), Queer Nightlife (co-edited with Kemi Adeyemi at U. Washington and Ramón Rivera-Servera at Northwestern U.), and Auntologies: Queer Aesthetics and South Asian Aunties. He has published in SAMAJ; Scholar and Feminist Online; Transgender Studies Quarterly; Journal of Asian American Studies; The Velvet Light Trap; Theater Topics; Theatre Journal; The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies; The Global Encyclopedia of GLBTQ History; Queer Dance (Oxford UP); Pop Empires (U Hawaii Press); and Queering Digital India (Edinburgh UP). He has essays forthcoming in South Asia; Oxford Encyclopedia of Asian American Literature and Culture; and Race Play (Palgrave).

With Elora Chowdhury (UMass Boston) and Faith Smith (Brandeis), he co-curates the Feminisms Unbound roundtable series for the greater Boston areas Graduate Consortium of Women's Studies. He has served as LGBTQ Focus Group Conference Planner, Conference Planning Committee Member, and the Vice President for Advocacy for the Association for Theater in Higher Education, as well as 2019 Conference Committee Member for the Dance Studies Association.

Kareem is also a performance artist, working in drag, storytelling, body art, theater, and digital media. His videos have been screened at the Mississauga South Asian Film Festival, Austin OUTsider multi-arts festival, Hyderabad Queer Film Festival, and San Francisco 3rd i film festival. As his alter ego LaWhore Vagistan he has performed at the Austin International Drag Festival, Mustard Seed South Asian Film Festival (Philadelphia), The Asia Society (NYC), AS220 (Providence) Queens Museum, Jack Theater (Brooklyn), Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Not Festival (Riverside), Links Hall (Chicago), and A.R.T. Oberon (Cambridge).

tead of and alongside 377 allows for a more expansive understanding of who is queer in relation to the state, as well as an opportunity to center pleasure and creativity in protest and activism.