Anjali Arondekar is Associate Professor of Feminist Studies and founding Co-Director of the Center for South Asian Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research engages the poetics and politics of sexuality, caste and historiography, with a focus on Indian Ocean Studies and South Asia. She is primarily interested in three concepts that have increasingly become the focii of methodological debates within historical and/or literary studies: archives (what constitutes historical evidence), exemplarity (how do we read evidence) and geopolitics (where do we read from). Such methodological concerns bring genealogies of area studies to bear on Anglo-American histories of literature and culture, and ask how such an attention to ‘area’ calibrates questions of race, gender and sexuality.

Arondekar reads and writes within established disciplines (history, literature, law) and field formations (area studies, queer/sexuality studies), mobilising South Asia through its multilingual and divergent colonial and national formations.

She is the author of For the Record: On Sexuality and the Colonial Archive in India (Duke University Press, 2009 and Orient Blackswan, India, 2010), winner of the Alan Bray Memorial Book Award. She is co-editor, with Geeta Patel, of Area Impossible: The Geopolitics of Queer Studies, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (2016).

Arondekar earned a BA from Cornell University and a PhD in English from University of Pennsylvania.

SAF participation:
March Meeting 2022