(Hi)Stories of Desire situates questions of sexuality in the larger domain where they are conditioned by and, in turn, also condition historically and culturally produced landscapes of being, doing, and desiring. The volume draws upon multi-disciplinary frameworks of analysis - including history, anthropology, literary studies, queer studies, and psychoanalysis - to provide a pan-Indian account of the making of sexual cultures. Based on original research, the chapters foreground sexuality as a significant site for the making of regional, national, and personal modernities.
Sexuality research in India tends to oscillate between the binaries of Western meta theories and the valorization of the local which constitutes a response to the former. The chapters in this collection consciously seek to circumvent both these strands and, instead, explore region and locality as embedded in fluid and constantly mediated spaces, both within and beyond the 'West' and the 'East' binary. They also demonstrate the difficulty of prioritizing specific frameworks - 'self-discipline', 'bio-politics', 'heteronormativity' - in the study of sexuality in a society where the circulation of ideas regarding sexuality must pass through networks characterized by severe historical and social disjunctures.
This volume addresses the modern paradox where sexuality is assigned a central significance in human life and yet its study tends to remain unconnected from the political, religious, social, and economic contexts that produce human subjectivity. It will be of interest to a wide range of readership, opening up the topic to complex yet accessible ways of understanding the culture of sexualities and the sexuality of culture.
Rajeev Kumaramkandath is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Work at CHRIST (deemed to be) University, Bengaluru.
Sanjay Srivastava is Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi.
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