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date: 17 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The goal of this article is to conceive of a cross-cultural queer theory for ethnomusicology that allows for the consideration of the widest diversity and inclusive conceptualization of the relationship of performing arts to human desire, intimate behavior, and identity. It begins from an assumption that Western meanings of “queer” do not match the ways of living and musicking with sex, gender, and sexuality that exist throughout the world. To this end, it presents eight theoretical guidelines to help scholars scrutinize the dominant Western gaze in queer scholarship, while allowing for local phenomena to expand global understanding of not just difference, but of human possibility. These guidelines engage concepts of gender and sexuality, ethnographic methodology, mainstream and marginal cultures, indigenous conceptualizations, intersectionality, and performative identities. It then applies these ideas and guidelines to case studies from South Asia by Jeff Roy (2017), Serena Nanda (1990), and Joyce Flueckiger (1996).

Keywords: queer theory, ethnomusicology, South Asia, sex, gender, sexuality, cross-cultural

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