Unruly Visions

The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora

Unruly Visions

Perverse Modernities: A Series Edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe

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Book Pages: 248 Illustrations: 72 illustrations, incl. 16pp color insert Published: November 2018

Art and Visual Culture > Art Criticism and Theory, Asian Studies > South Asia, Gender and Sexuality > Queer Theory

In Unruly Visions Gayatri Gopinath brings queer studies to bear on investigations of diaspora and visuality, tracing the interrelation of affect, archive, region, and aesthetics through an examination of a wide range of contemporary queer visual culture. Spanning film, fine art, poetry, and photography, these cultural forms—which Gopinath conceptualizes as aesthetic practices of queer diaspora—reveal the intimacies of seemingly disparate histories of (post)colonial dwelling and displacement and are a product of diasporic trajectories. Countering standard formulations of diaspora that inevitably foreground the nation-state, as well as familiar formulations of queerness that ignore regional gender and sexual formations, she stages unexpected encounters between works by South Asian, Middle Eastern, African, Australian, and Latinx artists such as Tracey Moffatt, Akram Zaatari, and Allan deSouza. Gopinath shows how their art functions as regional queer archives that express alternative understandings of time, space, and relationality. The queer optics produced by these visual practices creates South-to-South, region-to-region, and diaspora-to-region cartographies that profoundly challenge disciplinary and area studies rubrics. Gopinath thereby provides new critical perspectives on settler colonialism, empire, military occupation, racialization, and diasporic dislocation as they indelibly mark both bodies and landscapes.


"Unruly Visions is a significant addition to the groundbreaking Perverse Modernities series published by Duke University Press and edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe. . . . This book is highly recommended for academic libraries, especially those that serve institutions with heavy emphasis on research in visual studies, contemporary art history, postcolonial studies, gender and sexuality studies, and diaspora studies." — Andrew Wang, ARLIS/NA Reviews

"Unruly Visions demonstrates how, in curating and (re)positioning juxtaposed archives, regions and temporalities, new affective linkages are formed. Sitting at the intersection of queer, affect and area studies, this book peers backwards into queer regional archives with unruly, resistant and keen eyes that look to new modes of curating, writing and scholarship that all see(k) to confound conventional conceptions of local/global and metropolis/diaspora divisions." — Polly Hember, LSE Review of Books

"Unruly Visions is a formidable, powerful, and necessary study of queer diasporas that a wide range of readers, from the general public to diaspora studies scholars, will at once find illuminating and profound." — Shabnam Rathee and Rahul K. Gairola, South Asian Review

"Gopinath’s arguments are complicated but elegant and powerful. . . . I deeply recommend this well-written and thought-provoking book. We can compellingly travel through the various queer artworks following Gopinath’s guide to destruct contemporary modern normativities, which is surely a much-needed project. Researchers of queer subjects and theory, and humanities scholars and social scientists working on issues of immigration and globalization, as well as laypersons interested in queer diaspora and queer art will enjoy this book. In the end, I found myself inspired by Gopinath to queer everything constantly, including queerness itself." — Weejun Park, Antipode

“A tremendous advance over the current scholarship analyzing visuality, affect, and South-to-South queer diasporic artistic expression, Unruly Visions charts new cartographies of diasporic connections that provide a fresh orientation to our understanding of settler colonialism, empire, and racialization. Gayatri Gopinath’s book is a singular achievement that will have a profound impact within queer studies, indigenous and diaspora studies, visual studies, and aesthetics.” — Nayan Shah, author of Stranger Intimacy: Contesting Race, Sexuality, and the Law in the North American West

“A wonderfully detailed examination of queer diasporic films and visual art projects, this book explores how critical regionalism can interrupt conventional conceptions of local/global and metropolis/diaspora distinctions. Gayatri Gopinath's concept of a 'queer cartographic imaginary' resists neat categories and generalizations, offering an eclectic range of case studies—queer diaspora from Kerala and the Middle East, Latinx and U.S. cultures of immigration, and indigeneity.” — Ann Cvetkovich, author of Depression: A Public Feeling


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Price: $25.95

Open Access

Fall 2019 Sale
Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Gayatri Gopinath is Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Introduction. Archive, Region, Affect, Aesthetics  1
1. Queer Regions: Imagining Kerala from the Diaspora  19
2. Queer Disorientations, States of Suspension  59
3. Diaspora, Indigeneity, Queer Critique  87
4. Archive, Affect, and the Everyday  125
Epilogue. Crossed Eyes: Toward a Queer-Sighted Vision  169
Notes  177
Bibliography  213
Index  217
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0035-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0028-0
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