Queering the Kitchen: Reimagining Intimate Spaces and Queer Bodies in South Asian Literature

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Anurati Dutta


The relationship between women and nature is often interlinked naturally, and considered overlapping to such extents that one often misses the complexities that underlie. In this regard, various postcolonial novels in South Asia focus on the tales of nature and women that try to move beyond the mainstream understanding of the ‘natural’ relationship between women and nature, while bringing forth the disruptive circumstances that mainly the South Asian women face. Novels like Amitav Ghosh’s Gun Island or The Hungry Tide, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, Anita Desai’s The Village by the Sea, or T.S. Pillai’s Chemmeen portrays an ambivalent relationship between the dualisms that encircle us. The nature-culture dualism is one of the many that involve the power dynamics between the oppressed and the oppressor. And it does put forward the grey area that lay beneath these binaries like the gender dynamics associated with care which in turn gets linked to nature. My paper will focus on the complex relationship between women’s association with care and nature through various postcolonial South Asian fictions. It will talk about the postcolonial ecofeminist theories and methodologies that can be derived from these novels, and try to look beyond the normative understanding of women, care and nature.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Literature and Culture