Author: handspuncinema

All That Flickers


The moving image has become a ubiquitous text in the last century, with its own particular language of representation. The LGBTQ presence on the Western screen has been well-documented and studied for a long time now; the cinema of the global South, similarly, has it own closet of on-screen queers, bursting at its seams. This course will conduct forays into American, European, Latin, African, Asian and Arab cinemas – and train students to recognize, compare and contrast, the historical, cultural, and aesthetic conventions with which to unearth ‘queerness’ in the moving image. The course will address both queer subject matter such as personal and political LGBTQ histories, representations of gender diversity on screen, representation of HIV/AIDS, and alliances with other marginal subjects (age, race, class, ability, ecology, etc) and queer genres and forms such as camp, horror, melodrama and science fiction, to arrive at the shores of contemporary cinema where queer subjects have now become mainstream.


Trans Global Trans

This course will conduct an archaeology of the South Asian screen with the intent of unearthing voices from the margins of gender, sexuality, race, religion, age and more. The course will bridge topics in film/media studies, history, sociology and political science. Topics to be covered include:
• Cross-dressing in Indian silent-era films
• The Jewish/Muslim/Anglo presence in early Indian Cinema
• Genealogy of the Bollywood vamp
• Concept of ‘third sex’ in South Asian culture
• Asian horror and Asian camp as sites of marginality
• Effeminate men and butch women of the East
• South Asian Diasporic cinema
• Cinema and activism (around issues of gender/sexuality)
• Perspectives of the elderly in South Asian cinema

The Trouble with Normal


This course aims to deconstruct gender and sexuality by examining the contested and constructed nature of the various identities that fall under the LGBTQI umbrella. While the history of these communities will be addressed briefly within the coursework, the emphasis is on the political discourses that surround these communities – from identity politics (based on gender and sexual preference, or ‘being’ versus ‘doing’) to social politics (gay rights, AIDS activism and the queer movement, intersex rights, transgender rights, etc). An important part of the course is to examine the political dialectics of the various movements within the umbrella – the schisms between the feminist, queer and transgender movements – and how they were,and continue to be, negotiated. The course will also expand the conversation beyond the West to examine transnational perspectives on queer politics, specifically the importance of language (the politics of ‘naming’ versus ‘not-naming’) and the imperialist/colonialist impulses in exporting Western models of queer politics to non-Western countries. Finally, the course will introduce students to contemporary trends in queer and trans- theory towards making alliances with marginal positions based on race, class, ability, age and ecology.

The public lecture series Queering the Sciences will be presented in conjunction with this course in Spring 2016.

Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies


Visiting Specialist, Montclair State University (2013-present)
Consultant on the revision of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at MSU, which was launched as the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program in Fall 2015. Assisted with program curriculum revision, development of faculty re-training modules, and outreach. Developed and taught face-to-face and online courses in Gender and Queer Studies with a focus in Media Studies, including the following courses:

Intro to Women’s and Gender Studies
Intro to LGBTQ Studies
The Trouble with Normal: Queer Identities in a Transforming World
Trans Global Trans: Queer South Asians on the Silver Screen
All That Flickers: Queer Readings on Global Cinema

Queering the Sciences


Queering the Sciences is a series of 3 public talks (to be held in Spring 2016) that aims to bring cutting-edge scholarship in the humanities out of the classroom and to a general public. The talks will illuminate how science produces particular narratives around queer (or non-normative bodies) and how these biases have been corrected, and continue to be corrected, through scholarship in the humanities.

February 11: Let’s Talk About Intersex, Arisleyda Dilone
March 24: Radical Reproduction, Dr. Tricia Bogle
May 2: Queer Ecologies, Dr. Eben Kirksey

This project is funded through a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. For more information, check out the website:

3rd i Films

Festival Co-Director, 3rd i’s SF International South Asian Film Festival (2008-present); Program Director: Year-round programs, 3rd i’s Green Eye, 3rd i’s Queer Eye (2009-2011); Co-programmed with Ivan Jaigirdar
From art-house classics to documentary films, from innovative and experimental visions to next-level Bollywood: 3rd i Films is committed to promoting diverse images of South Asians through independent film. We showcase films from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Afghanistan and the global South Asian Diaspora. (more…)

Other Species, Other Times: New Video Art From India

Still from Forerunner, Sahej Rahal

Curated by Lalitha Gopalan and Anuj Vaidya
In a reversal of exhibition practices, this program lines up single channel video art and installations in a repertory film space, and suggests novel ways of considering bodies in movement. These bodies are neither discrete nor constant; they challenge borders and boundaries, and prefer entanglements with other species and other kinds. Varied in their consideration of the digital and in their use of performance practices, the works are primarily by artists living in Mumbai, Goa and New Delhi. (more…)