This talk engages a mislaid history of sexuality and slavery in Portuguese India to raise three vulgar questions: How do we call attention to the displacement of slave pasts within histories of sexuality that are themselves routinely displaced? How do we locate those displacements in itinerant archives of profit and pleasure, than in archives of loss and trauma? How do we open a dialogue between the interdisciplinary fields of area studies and sexuality studies with an eye to understanding how histories of slavery can reshape, even devastate, these very field-formations?
Anjali Arondekar is Associate Professor of Feminist Studies, UCSC, and Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature, UCLA. Her research engages the poetics and politics of sexuality, colonialism and historiography, with a focus on South Asia. She is the author of For the Record: On Sexuality and the Colonial Archive in India (Duke University Press, 2009, Orient Blackswan, India, 2010), winner of the Alan Bray Memorial Book Award for best book in lesbian, gay, or queer studies in literature and cultural studies, Modern Language Association (MLA), 2010. She is co-editor (with Geeta Patel) of “Area Impossible: The Geopolitics of Queer Studies,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (2016). Her current book project, Abundance: On Sexuality and Historiography, grows out of her interest in the figurations of sexuality, ethics and collectivity in colonial British and Portuguese India.