Kareem Khubchandani


“Aunty Aesthetics, or More Ways to be an Aunty”

Thursday, November 17, 2022
5:00 PM CDT (in-person)
Elvehjem L150


“Divas, Drag Queens, Aunties, and Other Academic Personas”

Friday, November 18, 2022
12:00 – 1:00 PM
UClub Room 212
432 East Campus Mall

*To register for the workshop, please RSVP to cvc@mailplus.wisc.edu.
All are welcome!


“Aunty Aesthetics, or More Ways to be an Aunty”

South Asian aunties in public culture are figures bound to horror, hunger, and humor. They are known to be terrifying figures, domineering and difficult, overbearing to younger generations. They are especially known for managing and curtailing desire, whether shaming you for that extra piece of cake you are eyeing, or blabbing to your parents about your nighttime escapes. As such, they have become the butt of the joke, particularly in meme culture that critiques older generation’s outmoded style and politics. This talk revisits the hegemonic figure of the South Asian aunty in TV, literature, and visual culture to detail what paying attention to her aesthetics can teach us about the queer and trans futures she makes possible rather than forecloses.


“Divas, Drag Queens, Aunties, and Other Academic Personas”

The academy requires us to perform, to conduct our bodies in a governed and regimented way, to speak and dress and travel and teach according to rules often unspoken, but quickly learned. What if we take this call to perform seriously, and assert control and limits over this performance demanded by neoliberal institutions? This discussion draws on Dr. Khubchandani’s creative, research, and pedagogical practice to imagine the possibilities of performance in surviving and enjoying academia. Must watch bit.ly/academicpersonas (35 mins) in advance.


Kareem Khubchandani is Associate Professor in theater, dance, and performance studies at Tufts University. He is the author of Ishtyle: Accenting Gay Indian Nightlife (University of Michigan Press, 2020), which received the 2021 Association for Theatre in Higher Education Outstanding Book award, 2021 Dance Studies Association de la Torre Bueno book award, 2021 MLA/ASA Alan Bray Memorial Prize honorable mention, and the 2019 CLAGS: Center for LGBTQ Studies Fellowship. Kareem is also co-editor of Queer Nightlife (University of Michigan Press, 2021) and curator of criticalauntystudies.com.


Major funding for this series is provided by the Anonymous Fund.  Event co-sponsors include the Departments of Afro-American Studies, Art, Art History, Chicano & Latino Studies, Communication Arts, English, Gender & Women’s Studies, Spanish & Portuguese, and Theatre & Drama as well as Institute for Research in the Humanities, Wisconsin Center for Film & Theatre Research, Center for South Asia, Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies Program,  and Latin American, Caribbean & Iberian Studies Program.