Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2007

Capstone Advisor

Roger Hallas

Honors Reader

Tula Goenka

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories


Subject Categories

English Language and Literature | Film and Media Studies | Radio | Religion | Television


Motherhood & the Political Project of Queer Indian Cinema is a thesis that works to understand the variety of ways the films of queer Indian cinema use the figure of the mother. The Indian mother has a long history at the fore of the Indian imagination. Popular narratives and public culture within India have a history of focusing on the mother as a key site of Indian tradition. Narratives and cultures of all religious traditions in India have consistently focused on the mother as a central character and agent of change. Queer Indian cinema, of the diaspora and made from within the subcontinent, has this same focus on the mother. Queer Indian cinema is different from many other cultural products of India and the diaspora in that it operates under certain inherent politics. The first is the burden expected to represent and to make visible the queer Indian community. There is also the political burden of creating a cultural product that engages in a tenuous cultural conversation, specifically the one on queerness or homosexuality. This thesis seeks to explore the variety of ways in which queer Indian cinema uses the narrative trope of the mother to further the political cause of queer Indian cinema. From mothers who must be questionably homophobic to mothers who are questionably queer to nagging mothers and cinematic mothers, the maternal is consistently important as a central narrative figure within queer Indian cinema. Through textual analyses of the films, engagement with the writings of prominent Indian, queer, and diasporic film scholars, and an analysis of the reception of these films, I come to understand the effect of these many ways of portraying the mother in film.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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