Queer Homing Desires
Department of English
“Queer Political Assemblages 2.0”
7 March 2022
Dr. Kaustav Bakshi, Associate Professor, Department of English, Jadavpur University
“Queer Political Assemblages”, a national students’ seminar, is a platform for conferring on diverse issues related to the intersectionality of sexuality identity politics, as the name clearly suggests. After a year’s break, the seminar is being revived, though in an online mode. This year’s theme is “Queer homing desires”.
Call for papers
Queer Homing Desires
“Home”, “belonging”, “dislocation”, “asylum” and “nation” connected to each other in intriguing ways have always been central to minority political discourses. The ‘queer’, by default, is always in a state of displacement. Homing desire – to borrow a phrase from Avatar Brah (1996) -in the context of a queer search for home, implies more than the discovery of and arrival at queer-affirmative spaces – which is more of an idea or an emotion than a territorially marked out space – a feeling of “hominess”; it is a search for “a space of belonging that proceeds from remembrances of beginnings that attach ‘home’ to places…faces and bodies…and emotions” (Fortier 2003). Queer individuals are either literally homeless, or are in a perennial search for a home, understood in all its metaphors, the arrival at which is indefinitely deferred or perhaps never really accomplished, being always in the process of discovery. Even within the spaces of the queer community, where multiple hierarchies and intersectionalities inform each identitarian category, the security of having arrived at ‘home’ or belonging within a habitable site of acceptance is often ruptured. Again, the commonplace perception of “home” and “homemaking” has been often resisted by queer individuals as normative ways of being, or as fulfilling a chrononormative expectation dictated by hetero-patriarchy. Queer homemaking is thus intricately linked with the mechanism of inclusion, exclusion, or inclusion under certain conditions, of legitimacy and illegitimacy of certain lives and ways of being. This is perhaps most apparent within transnational/diasporic discourses where queer diasporas resist “narratives that imagine diaspora and nation through the tropes of home, family, and community” which are “invariably organized around heteronormative, patriarchal authority” (Gopinath 2005). The queer resistance to the normative imagination of “home” signals a desire to break away from confined spaces and to challenge the security of permanence and closure. Perhaps Guzman’s (1997) term “sexile” encapsulates this contradiction effectively– a queer global subject exiled from the nation, and paradoxically liberated into free transnational mobility. The “sexile”, unbound by the national boundaries, provides an interesting analogy too: “queerness disrupts gender normativity like globalization disrupts national sovereignty” (Wesling 2008). On the other hand, however, the queer is raring to collapse on to the altar of heteronormativity with each passing day by eagerly appropriating all traditional markers of a successful and perfectly chrononormative hetero-life – one such marker being marriage, complete with vows of monogamy. The ulterior motive is to find a home – as it is understood so far – from fairy tales to contemporary popular Indian cinema. The desire for such a home and the fulfilment of such a desire is often in contradistinction to the original radicalism of being “queer”. So, what ultimately is “queer homing desire”, or what could an ideal “queer homing desire” be like? There is no singular definitive answer; in fact, there could be conflicting responses to the question. But, it would certainly be a discursive exercise worth undertaking.
Research papers reflecting on cultural texts and social events, testimonios and critical biographical sketches from students and research scholars for a 15 minute presentation are invited on this theme, the abstracts (not exceeding 300 words) of which should reach firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 February 2022. The final list of selected candidates will be issued by 28 February 2022