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New Publications from Gayatri Reddy, GLAS Affiliated Faculty

Gayatri Reddy has published two pieces:

An article in American Anthropologist, the flagship journal of the field, entitled “Our Blood is Becoming White”: Race, Religion, and Siddi Becoming in Hyderabad, India.” Published December 2023.

Abstract: “Our blood is becoming white.” This was a constant lament I heard from siddis in contemporary Hyderabad, India—third- and fourth-generation descendants of East African slaves and soldiers recruited by the local ruler or Nizam in the 1860s to form the African Cavalry Guard in his army. The article explores this siddi lament and the multivalent symbols—of color, blood, affect, belonging—latent in it. It draws on fieldwork conducted over the course of the last decade among siddis in Hyderabad, ambivalently situated as Indian citizens who are racialized as “Black” in an Indian and global order that denigrates Blackness and marked by their religious identification as Muslim in a virulently Hindu nation. The article unpacks these contexts, exploring the forces of empire and region and constructions of race, gender, and religion that have prodded and inflected siddi processes of becoming. In so doing, it unearths the ways in which Blackness, Muslimness, and masculinity are constituted as (intersecting) social and political categories, caught in the dialectics of alienation and intimacy, belonging and otherness, with enduring effects on the lives and cosmologies of siddis in Hyderabad and on the contemporary politics of race, gender, and religion in India.

Link here for the open access:

A book chapter entitled “Queer Desi Formations: Marking the Boundaries of Cultural Belonging in Chicago” in the edited volume, Pakistan Desires: Queer Futures Elsewhere (ed by Omar Casmani, pp. 216-235).

Introduction:  This chapter reflects fieldwork in Chicago among gay/queer-identified South Asian or desi men in the early 2000s, focusing on their articulated desires for a “community.” As such, it serves as a historical text, contextualizing more contemporary queer desi aspirations, desires, and formations in Chicago. The essay argues that desi gay men's desire for community at the turn of the century in Chicago signaled a social formation whose contours were crystallized largely through engagements with normativity. By heeding Roderick Ferguson's call to place normativity front and center, it explores past productions and regulations of ethnic, racial,gender, sexual, and class normativity – the contours of queer and racial becoming – among desis. And through engagements with other queer orientations in Chicago, captured in this essay by one iconic Pakistani figure, it gestures toward alternative queer futures and the possibilities for crafting a different kind of “brown commons” (Munoz 2020).

Duke University Press (published October 2023):

Dr. Reddy is an associate professor in Anthropology, and Gender & Women's Studies and an affiliate faculty in Global Asian Studies. She is a sociocultural anthropologist and her research and teaching interests lie at the intersections of sexuality, gender, health, and the politics of subject and community-formation in India, as well as within the immigrant South Asian queer community in the U.S. Broadly, her work interrogates the contours of cultural belonging through the paradoxical dialectic of “alienation and intimacy.”