Affecting Space: South Asian American Activism and the Visual Politics of Home

In: Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas

Extending the archive of South Asian American visual culture to the kinds that community activists use in public spaces expands our understanding of how such cultures contest dominant discourses of home. In this article, I examine how the uses of theatre, photography, and clothing by the San Francisco Bay Area-based “Berkeley South Asian Radical History Walking Tour,” and the anti-domestic violence exhibit I Dare to Air created by Maitri, generate particular affective relationships to public and private space. These relationships in turn produce resistant knowledges of “home” that challenge the racist logics of the Trump administration and the violent logics of a rising Indian American capitalist class. The work of community activists thus demands that we invigorate space as an analytic through which we theorize the import of South Asian American visual culture.

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