Cornell University

SAP Seminar Series: "B1nary C0des: Dancing Dichotomies in Bangalore's Gay Nightlife" by Kareem Khubchandani

Monday, May 1, 2017 at 12:15pm to 1:15pm

Uris Hall, G08 109 Tower Road, Ithaca, NY 14850

This talk draws on ethnographic research that Professor Khubchandani conducted between 2009 and 2013 in Bangalore for his book, Ishtyle: Improvising Gay South Asian Nightlife, which explores how middle and upper class professional men negotiate intimacy under conditions of displacement, migration, and labor contingency.  “Binary codes” plays on the lingua franca of information technology, and gestures to moral anxieties produced in light of India’s rise as a global IT capital. Political and economic changes exacerbate binarized categories and logics (East | West; Indian | foreign; male | female; gay | straight). In Bangalore, the association of bar and club nightlife with westernness, the repeated discursive production of gay men as "techies," and the perpetual abjection of gayness as un-Indian creates urgent stakes for the men in Khubchandani's fieldsites to think about how they style and move their bodies in nightlife spaces. Khubchandani describes how his interlocutors choreograph their bodies in gay party spaces, to show that their small refusals, misfires, and elisions make for a queer habitus that is less bifurcated by gender, race, and nationality.

Kareem Khubchandani is the Mellon Bridge Assistant Professor of drama & dance, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Tufts. He has published in Journal of Asian American Studies, The Velvet Light Trap, Theater Topics, and Theater Journal, and is currently working on a book manuscript titled: “Ishtyle: Improvising Gay South Asian Nightlife.” He received his Ph.D. in performance studies from Northwestern University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in women’s and gender studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

Event Type



Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Asian Studies, South Asia Program, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Department of Performing and Media Arts




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Contact Name

Daniel Bass

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Kareem Khubchandani

Speaker Affiliation

Tufts University (Drama & Dance; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)

Disability Access Information

Wheelchair accessible, assisted listening device available

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