Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Comparative Literature

Document Type



Queer bodies, produced by poetry, conjure dissident bodies who exist as citizens within the scope of the nation. In this analysis, I take into consideration Indian queer poetry, from both India and the diaspora, because bodies produced through this poetry reveal intersectional identities of queerness like race, and caste, that will help us understand how non-normative bodies exist along with other forms of marginalized identities like caste and race. In absence of academic scholarship on Indian queer poetry’s connection to the construction of nationhood, I aim to survey Indian queer poetry from mainland India and the Northern American diaspora, and Indian Dalit queer poetry published during the years 2016 and 2022.

Chapter one is a consideration of the Indian queer diasporas in North America. Focusing on the poetry of Alok Menon and Vivek Shraya, I will talk about how the dissident body is created through poetry. Through strategies of rememoration, queer curational practice, and decolonization these dissident bodies confront their liminal identities of brownness and queerness.

Chapter two analyzes the poetic anthology The Word That Belongs to Us. This analysis examines the ways in which different Indian communities come together and create dissident bodies, which, through the process of decolonization, embrace their Indianness and claim their right to exist within the Indian nation-space.

Chapter three focuses on Dalit queer poetry—a subject which has not yet been the subject of academic scholarship. Due to the lack of publication of most Dalit queer poetry, I have transcribed several poems that were performed orally and shared on social media. I posit that the queer Dalit community, like other queer Indian communities, also creates dissident bodies which challenge multiple levels of marginalization within Indian nationalism.

These three intersecting identities of queerness come together to exist as a Puarian assemblage and offer a new understanding of the relationship between nation-building and the politics of otherness and exclusion.



Committee Chair

Goldgaber, Deborah



Available for download on Saturday, April 25, 2026