Srila RoyMay 22, 2023
Changing the Subject
Feminist and Queer Politics in Neoliberal India
Duke University Press 2022
In Changing the Subject: Feminist and Queer Politics in Neoliberal India (Duke UP, 2022), Srila Roy maps the rapidly transforming terrain of gender and sexual politics in India under the conditions of global neoliberalism. The consequences of India’s liberalization were paradoxical: the influx of global funds for social development and NGOs signaled the co-optation and depoliticization of struggles for women’s rights, even as they amplified the visibility and vitalization of queer activism. Roy reveals the specificity of activist and NGO work around issues of gender and sexuality through a decade-long ethnography of two West Bengal organizations, one working on lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues and the other on rural women’s empowerment. Tracing changes in feminist governmentality that were entangled in transnational neoliberalism, Roy shows how historical and highly local feminist currents shaped contemporary queer and nonqueer neoliberal feminisms. The interplay between historic techniques of activist governance and queer feminist governmentality’s focus on changing the self offers a new way of knowing feminism—both as always already co-opted and as a transformative force in the world.
Shraddha Chatterjee has a PhD in Gender, Feminist & Women’s Studies from York University, Toronto, and is the author of Queer Politics in India: Towards Sexual Subaltern Subjects (Routledge, 2018).