What are nightlife's object lessons about power, desire, and the frictions of gender, sexuality, race, class, and caste in India and in the diaspora? What can nightlife's unwritten rules for bodily comportment teach us about queerness politics? What do the movements on the dance floor reveal about the mobilities and constraints of “bodies and differences across borders and scales (6)?” Ishtyle, as Kareem Khubchandani argues, names “South Asians’ mimetic, improper, aspirational, ‘unmastered,’ and unassimilated embodiments of dominant sensibilities” (7). This failure to master dominant aesthetic codes should not be understood as merely a cultural gap or failed assimilation. “Ishtyle” also hails the creative, unruly, and disruptive potentialities of failure: to conjure desire, style, embodiment, and performance differently.

Moving between the shifting, venue-dependent gay parties of Bangalore nightlife and South Asian–themed nights in Chicago's gay clubs and bars, Khubchandani chases the accented modes of speech, dress, gesture, dance, and performance...

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