B1nary C0des: Tech, Work, and Parties in Gay Bangalore

20 Oct 2021 08.00 PM - 09.30 PM Alumni, Current Students, Industry/Academic Partners, Prospective Students, Public

Bangalore’s post-liberalization rise as India’s “Silicon Valley” transfers on to its residents, often generalized as “techies.” The “techie” identity traps middle-class gay men in discursive dichotomies: global/local, gay/straight, techie/artist, culture/art, and Indian/Western. This talk explores how weekly gay parties in Bangalore replicate binaries through invitations, themes, DJ sets, and even US corporate sponsorships. The party’s ethos is modeled on white and masculine aesthetics of gayness that aggravate already existing suspicions around categories like “gay” and “techie.” But party attendees, “gay techies” and others, refuse Western codes dictated for them, and perform perpetual rejections of party decorum that accent “global gay” cultures. Rather than reading these rejections only as resistance to hegemonic expectations, this talk shows how partygoers create open-ended possibilities for self-expression and intimacy in spaces where style is rigorously predetermined.

About the Speaker:

Kareem Khubchandani is the Mellon Bridge assistant professor in theater, dance, and performance studies, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Tufts University. He is the author of Ishtyle: Accenting Gay Indian Nightlife (University of Michigan Press, 2020), co-editor of Queer Nightlife (University of Michigan Press, 2021), and recipient of the 2019 CLAGS: Center for LGBT Studies Fellowship and 2021 Association for Theatre in Higher Education Outstanding Book Award.