Neha Shaji

Neha Shaji

Department: English and Film
Discipline: English

Project Summary

My project looks at queer identity formation in Indian cinema and literature, through the disruptions, contradictions and slippages between "queer" and "India". At the moment I am working on early films and texts produced in the 50s-70s, studying queerness as an indescribable obscene. My focus narrows in on Kerala and Bombay, contrasting form, content and reception to queer texts in both places  

I am particularly concerned with literary and cinematic engagement with censorship and Section 377. Specifically, I look at concealing, unsettling, and celebrating legal definitions of what it means to be "unnatural" under the law 

Whilst I touch on queer oral histories as well as hallmark texts such as Lihaaf, the bulk of my research rests on artistic constructions that "pass" through and under the law. Several, such as Shabdangal and Randamoozham have not been previously analysed as queer narratives. 



Supervisory Team

I am currently supervised by Dr. Florian Stadtler and Prof. Jana Funke. 

Wider Research Interests

In addition to queer studies, my research crosses over into postcolonial theory, such as utilising Fanon's conception of the bifurcated man to agitate definitions of identitarian laws. Aside from my project, I am also interested in decolonisation, and am working  with the Exeter Decolonising Network as a student fellow.

Previously, I have worked on aesthetic and political linkages between German and Indian left wing cinema. I also have an interest in ecocriticism, specifically regarding cinematic representations of waste.