SOAS University of London

Centre for Gender Studies

Jacquelyn P. Strey

BA(Augustana College, Sioux Falls), MA(Manchester)


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Jacquelyn P. Strey
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Thesis title:
Queer Moments, Queer Imaginings: The everyday activism of queer women in India
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Jacquelyn hails from a small town in Minnesota, USA. She obtained her Bachelor's degree in Religion and Biology from Augustana College, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She studied for her Master's at the University of Manchester in Religious Studies and Theology.

PhD Research

The proposed research project rests primarily on questions of legitimacy, potential, and agency, asking where each are found and who is allowed to exist there. Highlighting the relationship between gender and sexuality, the project will be one of ‘queerness’, analysing what ‘queer’ means and does but also what potential it holds to challenge normative structures and ideologies. This project also heavily relies on the work done by feminist scholars focused on situated knowledges and alternative means of knowledge production. Working from these locations, the research aims to analyse the everyday lives of queer women in India to find moments of ‘queerness’ which, I argue, provide important insights into the uses and transformations of power. This power does not exist in a vacuum but, instead, is contextually dependent. Because of this, I focus on discourses of religious nationalism, globalization, and neoliberalism and their workings in India to better understand the structures at play and how they influence the actions of these women.

Ultimately, I believe that the everyday lives of women in India with alternative or dissident sexualities can reveal moments or situations of ‘queerness’. By focusing on 'queer moments', I argue that individuals have the capacity to engage in creative ethical imagination which carries with it transformative potential. This potential, then, should be read alongside political activism and should not be neglected when speaking of social change and social movements. These moments, I argue, hold the potential to challenge hegemonic ideologies which present a ‘Proper’ way of existing. In this paper, I’d like to focus on three main questions or theoretical frameworks: What does it mean to be ‘Queer and Woman in India?; What does ethics have to do with activism and what can that tell us about imagination and creativity?; and What is the potential of the ‘ordinary’ and where is that found? In asking these questions, I hope to outline how both political activism and scholarship have neglected to give adequate attention to the imaginative potential of everyday moments in queer women’s lives.