Writing through Activisms and Academia: Challenges and Possibilities

Authored by: Niharika Banerjea , Kath Browne , Leela Bakshi , Subhagata Ghosh

The Routledge Research Companion to Geographies of Sex and Sexualities

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472455482
eBook ISBN: 9781315613000
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043331


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Critical writers suggest that academic work, thinking and research can be activist in its motivations, processes and outcomes. Activist-oriented research has a long-standing tradition of engaging legacies of feminist politics and participatory and collaborative research processes (Farrow et al, 1995; Gatenby and Humphries, 2000; Moss, 2002; Ramazano─člu and Holland, 2002; Sharp, 2005; Thomas, 1993). A body of work has explored the role of the academic-activist, engaged academic, politically purposive researcher, and scholar-activist in furthering social change (Chatterton, 2006; Kindon et al., 2007; Mitchell, 2008; The Autonomous Geographies Collective, 2010). Yet there exist few studies that discuss the actual process of working and writing collaboratively from the perspective of both academics and activists across national contexts in the area of sexualities. This chapter looks at how academics and activists collaborate to produce academic and academic/activist work in two projects concerned with sexualities. One is located in India, where Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalizes certain sexual acts. 1 1

Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code has its origins in an 1860 British colonial law. It was read down by the Delhi High Court in Naz Foundation vs Government of NCT of Delhi on 2 July 2009. In the Suresh Kumar Koushal v Naz Foundation case, the court reversed the 2009 judgment on 11 December 2013.

After a brief reading down in July 2009, this was reinstated in December 2013, the same year that the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act was passed in the England and Wales. Putting academics and activists across India and the UK into dialogue, this chapter contests the ways in which some nations are seen as moving ‘backwards’, and highlights the need to learn from others who are moving ‘forward’. Instead, we speak as academics/activists who engage in co-producing useful knowledges with which to intervene in local/national sexuality politics.

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