The History of Desire in India – How to Think about Sexuality Differently, talk by Madhavi Menon


Madhavi Menon (Ashoka University) will give the public lecture "The History of Desire in India - How to Think about Sexuality Differently" as part of the InterGender course: Learning to Read Differently, which is co-organized by our researchers Flora Löffelmann and Manu Sharma.

When & Where:

6.10.23, 18.00, Alois Wagner-Saal, Sensengasse 3, 1090 Wien 


Thinking through the three major categories by which we classify sexuality today – body, name, category – this talk will provide alternatives to such organisatonal rubrics from the Indic subcontinent. Can we think about sexuality in the absence of a body? How do we call desire by a name when it might not have one? And what is our approach to identity when we cannot categorise desire? Suggesting alternative histories that expand our current horizons of possibility, this talk will dip into religion, mythology, literature and history in order to make its argument.

Madhavi Menon is Professor of English and Director of the Centre for Studies in Gender and Sexuality at Ashoka University in the National Capital Region of Delhi. She is the author of several books on Shakespeare and queer theory, and editor of Shakesqueer, the queer companion to the complete works of Shakespeare. Her most recent books include Indifference to Difference: On Queer Universalism (2015), Infinite Variety: A History of Desire in India (2018), and The Law of Desire: Rulings on Sex and Sexuality in India (2021). She is currently working on a book project on Sufism, sexuality, and Shakespeare that brings together the social and intellectual cultures with which she grew up. She lives in Delhi, and has a very serious sweet tooth.