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ISHQ: Issues in Society, History, and Queerness is our showcase speakers’ series that focuses on the intersection of ideas dealing with gender and sexuality. ISHQ recognises the interdisciplinary nature of queer studies and offers a platform to engage with gender, sexuality, desire, nationalism, religion, identity, and queerness, while drawing upon a range of disciplines and theoretical frameworks. ISHQ highlights the intersectionality of queer studies and also explores the relationship between theory and activism.

ISHQ hosts speakers once a month and invites scholars and activists share their ideas with us. Some of the speakers that we have already hosted as a part of this series include noted feminist publisher Urvashi Butalia, and the eminent scholar, Dr. Mary John, among others. (See below for a complete list of the speakers from AY 2015-16) The aim of the ISHQ Series is to expose students and faculty to varied, contentious, and cutting-edge ideas on issues of gender, history, society, and sexuality.

We envisage this will be a series capacious enough to cover ideas, scholars, and activists from a wide range of subjects, allowing us to cross-fertilise what might currently seem like disparate fields of interest.

The series will continue to run for the length of our next academic year (AY 2016-17) as well. Please check this page for updates on the line-up of speakers for the next academic year.


Month Speaker Description
October Vikramaditya Sahai Vikramaditya is a part of the Gender Studies faculty at the School of Human Studies, Ambedkar University, Delhi. He actively participates in queer activism in Delhi and his academic work focuses on understanding queer politics in Delhi.
November Urvashi Butalia Urvashi is a publisher and writer. Co-founder of Kali for Women, India’s first feminist publisher, and now director of Zubaan, she is also author of the award-winning oral history of Partition, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India .
January Pramada Menon Pramada is an activist and filmmaker. She is a founder member of Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action (CREA) in 2000. She has spent much of her time conducting trainings with both men and women on issues related to gender, leadership and empowerment.
February Sandip Roy Sandip is Senior Editor at the popular news portal and blogs for the Huffington Post. He has been a longtime commentator on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio programme in the US, and has a weekly radio postcard for public radio in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is also an editor with New America Media. Sandip has won several awards for journalism and contributed to various anthologies including Storywallah!, Contours of the Heart, Because I Have a Voice: Queer Politics in India, Out! Stories from the New Queer India, New California Writing 2011 and The Phobic and the Erotic: The Politics of Sexualities in Contemporary India.
April Mary E. John Mary E. John is currently a Senior Fellow and Professor at the Centre for Women’s Development Studies, India. Mary E John has been working in the fields of women’s studies and feminist politics for many years. She was Director of CWDS from 2006-2012, and before that was Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Women’s Studies Programme at JNU, New Delhi from 2001-2006.
May ISHQ Symposium
Panel: Anjali Gopalan, Geeta Patel, Madhavi Menon, Shyam Divan
Performance: Thoda Dhyaan Se by Mallika Taneja
Anjali Gopalan is the Founder and Executive Director of the Naz Foundation (India) Trust, a Delhi-based NGO dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS. As a strong advocate for the sexual health and rights of the LGBT community, Anjali spearheaded the eight year legal battle against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). In 2001, Anjali was awarded the Commonwealth Award for her work with marginalized communities. She was also nominated and short-listed for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 in recognition of her work to bring harmony to those whose lives have none.
Geeta Patel (Ph.D., Columbia University) is Associate Professor, Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures and Women, Gender & Sexuality. Her book, Lyrical Movements, Historical Hauntings: Gender, Colonialism and Desire in Miraji’s Urdu Poetry (Stanford University Press, 2002), reads a renegade writer through nationalism, gender, sexuality, and grief in twentieth-century Urdu poetic movements. Her work, circling around prose and poetry in Sanskrit, Urdu, Hindi, Braj and Awadhi, includes translation and short personal pieces.
Shyam Divan is a senior advocate who practices before the Supreme Court of India. His areas of practice cover most branches of civil litigation including banking, securities law, arbitration, administrative law and environmental law. He is the co-author of Environmental Law and Policy in India (2nd Edition, 2001, Oxford) and has authored chapters on Public Interest Litigation in The Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution (2016) and Contours of EIA In India  in Water and the Laws in India (2009, Sage).