Indian and lesbian and what came next: Affect, commensuration, and queer emergences

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ABSTRACT

In this article, I demonstrate how a new social world of lesbian activists emerged in India around the text of a sign reading “Indian and Lesbian,” which was held aloft at a demonstration and then pictured in newspapers the following morning. I argue that the efficacy of this sign lay not in its commensuration of “Indian” and “lesbian” but, rather, in its introduction of an incommensurability that now had to be resolved. I understand incommensurability as affect, or the participation of the unknown in the world of norms such that something new emerges that struggles between multiplication and closure.

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