A Gender and Sexuality Bi-annual

Issue 3

(Un)desirable Histories

The third issue of Qurbatein is a call to explore the political, sexual, social, religious and cultural histories of desire that have spanned the Indic subcontinent for centuries. While some desires have been allowed to flourish, some have vanished, while others have been criminalised. Even more, we look to history for radically different purposes – to allow or disallow desires in the present. Some of us seek “role models” in the past, while others seek impediments. How does history become a battleground to prove desirability or its opposite? How far back do we go? How do we write a history of the present? How do we take on board uncomfortable historical ideas that do not fit in with our ideas about ourselves? Do we create sanitised histories of desire, or do we allow desire to sully the historical record?

We are also interested in thinking of history as the production of knowledge; what is the relationship between history and epistemology? Is history a force that lends voice to the voiceless, or does it help in maintaining the status quo? In what ways does desire become a subject for history? The goal of this issue of Qurbatein is to reflect on the idea of desire in relation to history, and to think about what might or might not count as a desirable history.

Artwork by Sanjana Sridharan