New Queer Politics: Notes on Failure and Stuckness
Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School.
Friday, 31st March, 2017
Venue: Seminar Room (First Floor),Department of Sociology, University of Delhi
What happens when queers become democracy’s ‘favourite minority’ championed by the capitalists, the liberals, the conservatives, and the leftists, all singing in the language of rights? It marks the inauguration (or culmination?) of a moment that is not bad but dangerous. The common-sense opposite of bad is good—and the good in this situation, of all of these apparently oppositional political positions becoming strange bedfellows to turn queers into rights-bearing subjects, as I will argue, is what makes this a dangerous common-sense. In this paper, I both describe and critique the emerging intimacies between queer politics, the Hindu Right and neoliberalism in India (and its global mutations) as a concentrated instance of the way ‘queer’—as identity, discourse and method—is being depoliticized, individualized and responsibilized. The paper is written in the form of a bricolage of descriptive refractions that have animated my practices of critique and activism both inside and outside the legal academy over the last decade, especially through a period where I have had to negotiate and account for the contradictions of my own politics and the complicities that have contaminated any claim to purity. I end the paper on a note of hopelessness (not apathy) because resistance and solidarity are romantically overrated, and much of the cause for the dangerous common-sense we have built for ourselves.
About the Speaker
Oishik Sircar is an Assistant Professor at Jindal Global Law School, and a doctoral scholar, Institute for International Law and the Humanities at Melbourne Law School. Oishik researches and writes in the areas of critical legal theory, visual cultures, law and memory, queer theory, postcolonial feminism, critical pedagogies, and cultures of human rights, with with works that have appeared, among others, in Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left, Human Rights Defender, Economic and Political Weekly, No Foundations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice, Feminist Studies, Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Childhood and Himal Southasian. Oishik is the coeditor of New Intimacies, Old Desires: Law, Culture and Queer Politics in Neoliberal Times (Zubaan 2017), and sits on the advisory board of the Indian Law Review. Oishik has codirected two documentary films, of which We Are Foot Soldiers (PSBT 2011), on the activism of the children of sex workers in Kolkata, won the 3rd Best Film award at the 2012 Jeevika: Asian Livelihood Documentary Film Festival in Delhi. Oishik’s article, "Spectacles of Emancipation: Reading Rights Differently in India’s Legal Discourse", won the UK Socio Legal Studies Association Article Prize in 2013.