To Exclude or Not to Exclude? The Question of Nationality as a Category in Queer Studies
This paper will try to look at some of the problems of categorisation through the prism of my own reservations and concerns when researching the novel Babyji (2005) by Abha Dawesar. The paper will examine whether categories and classifications are capable of including all the exclusions that they purport to remedy. In particular, this paper will examine the usefulness of the term ‘queer’ and the category of the nationality ‘Indian’, as well as the simultaneous problems that arise from using the category of nationality in conjunction with queerness. Moreover, it does not implicitly entail that the more categories sprout in the world, the more inclusive the world will be toward queer individuals. The paper will therefore interrogate if there is a way out at all from this conundrum of labelling and binding oneself to these categories. This interrogation is done by challenging the idea that it is easier to think of Dawesar’s novel from a monolithic perspective of nationality, while the novel’s other facets are conveniently allowed to fade by critics and researchers. To think of Babyji as more than just a nationalistic novel, the paper applies Gayatri Spivak’s concept of “foreclosure” (“The Intervention Interview” 125). Spivak, borrowing the term from Lacanian psychoanalysis, differentiates foreclosure from exclusion and conceptualises the former “to mean the interested denial of something”. By using this term, the paper thus explores other interpretations of Babyji, concluding that thinking beyond categories (despite them being a necessary evil) is quite possible.
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