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Affects, Emotions, and Desires: Perspectives on Postcolonial Masculinit(ies)

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Organizer: Shwetha Chandrashekhar

Co-Organizer: Pujarinee Mitra

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This seminar will query the affective connections between postcoloniality and masculinity to interrogate and rethink the commonly held notions about patriarchy, power, and gender inequality. Even though postcolonial theory has come a long way since Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks where he uses Manichean categories – “the woman of color and the white man” and “the man of color and the white woman” – to critique racism and colonialism, there are not many book-length studies that explore how complex masculine subjectivities operate in and across postcolonial and transnational contexts. Not only does this seminar aspire to problematize the link between masculinity and maleness and critically engage with constructions of alternative masculinities in postcolonial literature, cinema, and media, it also stresses the need to depart from the Euroamerican affective constructions (like that in Massumi) and pay attention to affects around sexuality, desire, and agency that are peculiar to postcolonial societies.



The definition of affect that this seminar is working with has been proposed by Sara Ahmed in her collaborative work, “Affect/Emotion: Orientation Matters. A Conversation between Sigrid Schmitz and Sara Ahmed” (2014, pp. 97-108). In it, she states that her use of ‘affect’ is partly interchangeable with what the term ‘emotions’ signifies. References to other postcolonial affect theorists are welcome and encouraged. We invite papers that are sensitive to contradictions, ambiguities, and affective dissonances that surface in the fictional depictions of masculinities due to economic, racial, religious, caste, and sexual hierarchies and conflicts.



Suggested topics include but are not limited to:



  • masculinities and/as performance

  • masculinity and the problem of representation 

  • female masculinity and male femininity

  • homosexual, homoerotic, and homosocial relationships

  • excessive masculinity or insufficient masculinity

  • military/army masculinity or other state masculinities

  • masculinities and negative affects

  • religion, masculinity, and nationalism

  • race, caste, and masculinity

  • masculinity in the digital space

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