Urban Utopias pp 209-225 | Cite as

Utopia or Elsewhere: Queer Modernities in Small Town West Bengal

  • Paul Boyce
  • Rohit K. Dasgupta
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Urban Anthropology book series (PSUA)


This chapter is based on collaborative ethnographic work conducted in Siliguri and Barasat, regional towns in West Bengal, India. We explore concerns around ‘liveable lives’ and social visibility in terms of explicit same-sex sexualities in these contexts, seeking to understand such lives as a part of ordinary and wider social discourses and practices concerning belonging and difference. This chapter looks at the experiences of those who might be imagined as queer subjects but who are pushed to the margins of prevailing narratives of queer utopian aspiration in India, for being too regional, peri-urban or rural, bodies and subjects in excess of urban narratives of acceptable difference.


Small Town Social Visibility Sexual Culture Aesthetic Ideal Suburban Town 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Ahmed, Sara. 2010. The Promise of Happiness. Ann Arbor: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Banerjea, Niharika, Kath Brown, Leela Bakshi, and Subhagata Ghosh. 2016. Writing through Activisms and Academia: Challenges and Possibilities. In The Routledge Research Companion to Geographies of Sex and Sexualities, ed. G. Brown and K. Browne. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Barton, Bernadette. 2013. Pray the Gay Away. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Beaumont, M. 2010. Reinterpreting Oscar Wilde’s Concept of Utopia: The Soul of Man Under Socialism. The Soul of Man: Oscar Wilde and Socialism—and ‘OSCHOLARS’ Special Issues—Spring
  5. Bloch, Ernst. 1986. The Principle of Hope, 3 vols. Trans. Neville Plaice, Stephen Plaice and Paul Knight. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Boyce, Paul. 2007. (Dis)locating Men Who Have Sex With Men in Calcutta: Subject, Space and Perception. In The Phobic and the Erotic: The Politics of Sexualities in Contemporary India, ed. B. Bose and S. Bhattacharyya, 399–416. Kolkata: Seagull Books.Google Scholar
  7. _____. 2013a. The Object of Attention: Same-Sex Sexualities in Small-Town India and the Contemporary Sexual Subject. In Sexuality Studies, ed. S. Srivastava, 183–202. Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. _____. 2013b. The Ambivalent Sexual Subject: HIV Prevention and Male-to-Male Intimacy in India. In Understanding Global Sexualities: New Frontiers, ed. Peter Aggleton, Paul Boyce, Henrietta Moore, and Richard Parker. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Boyce, Paul, and Aniruddha Dutta. 2013. Vulnerability of Gay and Lesbian Indians Goes Way Beyond Section 377. The Conversation.
  10. Califia, Pat. 1994. Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex. California: Cleis Press.Google Scholar
  11. Dasgupta, Rohit K. 2014. Parties, Advocacy and Activism: Interrogating Community and Class in Digital Queer India. In Queer Youth and Media Cultures, ed. C. Pullen, 265–277. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  12. Dasgupta Rohit, K. 2015. Articulating Dissident Citizenship, Belonging, and Queerness on Cyberspace. South Asian Review 35(3): 203–223.Google Scholar
  13. Dasgupta, Rohit K. forthcoming. Digital Queer Cultures of India: Politics, Intimacies and Belonging. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Dutta, Aniruddha. 2012. An Epistemology of Collusion: Hijras, Kothis and the Historical (Dis) Continuity of Gender/Sexual Identities in Eastern India. Gender & History Special Issue: Gender History Across Epistemologies 24 (3): 825–849.Google Scholar
  15. Eagleton, Terry. 2011. Why Marx Was Right? New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Edelman, Lee. 2004. No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive. Ann Arbor: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Engebretsen, Elizabeth L. 2012. On Urban Anthropology in Contemporary China. In Anthropology in the City: Methodology and Theory, ed. I. Pardo and G. Prato, 191–213. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Foucault, Michel. 1990. The History of Sexuality Vol. 1. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  19. Hajratwala, Minal. 2012. Out: Stories from the New Queer India. Mumbai: Queer Ink.Google Scholar
  20. Halberstam, Judith Jack. 2011. The Queer Art of Failure. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Henderson, Lisa. 2013. Love and Money: Queers, Class, and Cultural Production. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Jones, Angela. 2013. A Critical Enquiry into Queer Utopias. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Manalansan, Martin. 2003. Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora. Ann Arbor: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Munoz, Jose. 2009. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Nagar, Ila, and Debanuj Dasgupta. 2015. Public Koti and Private Love: Section 377, Religion, Perversity and Lived Desire. Contemporary South Asia 23(4): 426–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nandy, Ashish. 2009. The Intimate Enemy: The Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism. New Delhi: Oxford University Press India.Google Scholar
  27. Narrain, Arivind, and Alok Gupta, ed. 2011. Law Like Love: Queer Perspectives on Law. Delhi: Yoda Press.Google Scholar
  28. Osella, Caroline, and Filippo Osella. 2006. Men and Masculinities in South Asia. London: Anthem Press.Google Scholar
  29. Puar, Jasbir. 2007. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Ann Arbor: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Shahani, Parmesh. 2008. GayBombay: Globalisation, Love and Belonging in Contemporary India. New Delhi: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sinha, Mrinalini. 1995. Colonial Masculinity: The ‘manly Englishman’ and The’ Effeminate Bengali’ in the Late Nineteenth Century. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Srivastava, Sanjay. 2004. Introduction: Semen, History, Desire and Theory. In Sexual Sites, Seminal Attitudes: Sexualities, Masculinities and Culture in South Asia, ed. Sanjay Srivastava. New Delhi: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Weston, Kath. 1995. Get Thee to a Big City: Sexual Imaginary and the Great Gay Migration. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 2(3): 253–277.Google Scholar
  34. Wilde, Oscar. 1891. The Soul of Man Under Socialism. London: Arthur L. Humpreys.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Boyce
    • 1
  • Rohit K. Dasgupta
    • 2
  1. 1.University of SussexBrightonUK
  2. 2.Institute for Media and Creative IndustriesLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK

Personalised recommendations