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THE 2020 FESTIVAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCE
DIGITAL-FIRST EVENT 7-15 NOV 2020
FoSS and ESRC logos

COVID 19 Assemblages: Queer and Feminist Perspectives from South Asia

12th November 2020 14:00-16:00
Talk/Webinar, Panel debate, Performance, Politically sensitive

About this event

This event builds on-going activities aimed at understanding vulnerabilities faced by gender and sexual minorities in South Asia in relation to COVID 19. This involves a range of connected concerns such as informal employment, migratory pressures, violence at home (in lockdown) and class and caste prejudices. Policies such as ‘social distancing’ as a means to mitigate the COVID 19 crisis have little impact on densely populated regions such as South Asian cities, and are further deepening vertical hierarchies between social groups. Actions implemented in the West which allow people to work from home, or to be furloughed, are sadly missing in South Asia where the majority of people work in agricultural, manufacturing and service sectors and have been left stranded and without the benefit of a welfare state.

Previous research, recently supported by the Sussex Social Science Impact Fund, has revealed the particular employment and well-being precarities faced by gender and sexual minorities in the region. Also the legacies of another critical viral event, HIV, endure as a cause of social isolation, as funding for community support has dried up amidst the increasing biomedicalistion of the global HIV/AIDS response. As such, sexual and gender minority people have suffered significant loss of livelihood and community support over recent years, circumstances, now exacerbated by COVID 19. UN agencies have recently called for improved understanding of such circumstances. The proposed event responds accordingly.

The event will draw together a range of gender and sexual minority voices from the region to consider how to document, understand and intervene into the circumstances described. It is important to think of intersectional issues of social justice and oppression wreaked by COVID-19. Queer and feminist voices and analyses offer critical strategies to strengthen collective organising across all identity/positionality lines for radical changes that can benefit us all.

The event is hosted by Niharika Banerjea, Ambedkar University, Delhi , Rohit K. Dasgupta, Loughborough University and Paul Boyce, University of Sussex . It will feature discussions with queer and feminist activists, academics, and authors from South Asia.