In 2002, the state of Gujarat in India erupted in extreme anti-Muslim violence. The sexual violence against Muslim women and girls was particularly brutal. Survivors bore witness not only to the violence and destruction but also to the intense sexual enjoyment of the Hindu rapists and rioters. My essay returns to the survivor testimonies of 2002 in an effort to rethink, on the one hand, the status of sexual pleasure/sexual violence in the riots and, on the other, the limits of feminist identification with the Muslim victim-survivors. I argue that sexuality was crucial to all the violence of 2002. My account demonstrates the value—and the terrifying consequences—of learning to read the multiple scenes of pleasure in 2002 for feminist politics against sexual violence.
2002: A Reading Appeal
samia vasa is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Emory University. Her doctoral research project, tentatively titled “Repeating the Unreadable: Sexual Violence, Radical Feminism, and Psychoanalysis,” conducts psychoanalytic, literary, and queer-negative readings of Catharine MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin, and the Gujarat riots of 2002.
Samia Vasa; 2002: A Reading Appeal. differences 1 December 2019; 30 (3): 34–62. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-7973988
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