Three Experiments in Subaltern Intimacy

Neetu Khanna, University of Southern California


This paper centers the Marxist artistic experiments of anti-colonial activist and playwright, Rashid Jahan, for her phenomenological approaches to feminist decolonial practices in India. I argue that Jahan’s experiments in literature and theater provide a far more incisive mobilization of the “subaltern” consciousness than previously understood within postcolonial debates. This paper is thus a renewed engagement with articulations of the subaltern consciousness that were so central to the anti-colonial literatures of this era. I seek to challenge the field of postcolonial studies to shift a traditional focus on the discursive and ideological contours of colonial violence and power to account for how habits of mind are secured in the habituated responses of the body. Simultaneously, I seek to attend to a gap in affect studies by making available new modes of reading racialized affective forms through the historical materialities that produce its expressive forms.


Rashid Jahan, Marxist feminisms, phenomenology, affect, new materialisms, subaltern

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