Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Comparative Literature

Document Type



In our globalized and transcultural world, the politics of dissent have moved from bearing connotations of negation to becoming the war cry of individuals fighting for their rights. Increased cultural interactions have led to the formation of a plethora of identities within communities, some of which may deviate from the norms and ambition of a nation and culture. Creative expressions of this deviation may lead to the presence of dissident voices in a culture. This dissertation is an exploration of these dissident voices within South Asia in the twenty-first century, and conversely, of the ways in which aesthetic productions are breaking down an older representative order that formed the consensus. This dissertation locates and argues the presence of dissenting voices in three new modes of literary and cinematic representations: a. depictions of lower castes (especially Dalits) have moved away from being repentant and caricatural to being individuals affected by the unevenness of the benefits of globalizations; b. depictions of queer communities, which previously focused largely on bodily expressions of sexualities have evolved to show how queer bodies can interact with spaces to create multiple meanings of private and public; c. the reclaiming of the figure of the djinn, an important entity in South Asian folklores from its rampant representations of the uncritical, gift-giving genie. This shift acts as a reification of resistance in the larger context of consumerism in South Asia and marks the advent of a new mode of cultural dissidence which aims to shatter existing taboos whilst creating a more progressive consumer culture.



Committee Chair

Khannous, Touria



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