Naisargi N. Dave

Naisargi N. Dave

Naisargi N. Dave, Ph.D. (University of Michigan, 2006)
Associate Professor, St. George Campus

(416) 978-6050
Office: AP 206

Research Keywords: Activism, affect, sexuality and gender, ethics, social emergences, queer anthropology, intimacy, animal-human relationships, postcolonial cities

Research Region: India

Research Bio

Professor Dave’s research concerns emergent forms of politics and relationality in contemporary urban India. Her book, Queer Activism in India: A Story in the Anthropology of Ethics (Duke 2012) explores the relationship among queer politics, activism, and affect. Her second book project, The Social Skin: Humans and Animals in India engages critically with humanism and the privileging of reason to consider myriad facets of working with and for urban and working animals in India.  Professor Dave teaches courses on animality and posthumanism, affect, ethics, anthropological theory, activism, gender and sexuality, and the anthropology of South Asia.


2012   Queer Activism in India: A Story in the Anthropology of Ethics. Durham: Duke University Press. Winner of the Ruth Benedict Prize for Outstanding Single-Authored Monograph. (South Asia edition published in 2016, New Delhi: Zubaan)

Articles and Chapters

In Press. Kamadhenu’s Last Stand: On Animal Refusal to Work. Forthcoming in How Nature Works, Sarah Besky and Alex Blanchette, eds. University of New Mexico Press.

In Press. Narcissus. Forthcoming in Lexicon for an Anthropocene Yet Unseen, Anand Pandian and Cymene Howe, eds. Punctum Books.

2017   Something, Everything, Nothing; or, Cows, Dogs, and Maggots . Social Text 35 (1): 35-57.

2016  Love and Other Injustices: On Indifference to Difference. Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University.

2015      (with Brighupati Singh). On the Killing and Killability of Animals: Nonmoral Thoughts for the Anthropology of Ethics. Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 35(2): 232-245.

2014      Witness: Humans, Animals, and the Politics of Becoming. Cultural Anthropology 29(3): 433-456. Click here for author interview.

2014.   Death and Family: Queer Archives of the Space Between. In Leela Fernandes (ed.), The Handbook on Gender in South Asia.  London: Routledge.

2011   “Indian and Lesbian and What Came Next: Affect, Commensuration, and Queer Emergences.” American Ethnologist 38 (4): 650-665.

2011   “Abundance and Loss: Queer Intimacies in South Asia.” Feminist Studies 37(1): 1-15.

2011   “Activism as Ethical Practice: Queer Politics in Contemporary India.” Cultural Dynamics. 23(1): 3-20.

2011    “Ordering Justice, Fixing Dreams: An Ethnography of Queer Legal Activism.” In Law Like Love: Queer Perspectives on Law in India. Arvind Narrain and Alok Gupta, editors. Pp. 25-42. New Delhi: Yoda Press.

2010  “To Render Real the Imagined: An Ethnographic History of Lesbian Community in India.” In Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 35(3): 595-619.

2008   “Between Queer Ethics and Sexual Morality.” In The Sarai Reader 07: Frontiers,  Monica Narula et al, eds. Pp. 387-395. New Delhi: Centre for Studies in Developing Societies.

Reprinted in Ordinary Ethics:Anthropology, Language and Action, 2010, ed. Michael Lambek. New York: Fordham University Press.

Book Reviews & Other Essays

What it Feels Like to Be Free: The Tense of Justice. Invited for a special forum on “Justice,” Cultural Anthropology online.

2015       What Animals Teach Us About Politics. By Brian Massumi. Somatosphere.

2015      Queer Respites. For Cultural Anthropology’s online forum, “Theorizing the Contemporary.”

2015      Naisargi N. Dave and Tom Boellstorff. The No Future of Queer Anthropology: A Forum on Intellectual Careers and Reproductions of Knowledge. For Cultural Anthropology’s forum, “Theorizing the Contemporary.”

2014 Deviations. By Gayle Rubin. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 20(1):176-177.

2008   “Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures. By Gayatri Gopinath.” American Ethnologist 35(4): 4090-4094.



The Ethnography of Activism: A Conversation with Naisargi Dave.

The Ethnography of Activism: The Satya Interview with Naisargi Dave.

“Naisargi Dave on Animal Rights Activism in India” with Grant Jun Otsuki for the “Anthropod” Podcast sponsored by Cultural Anthropology

With Hemanjini Gupta for Cultural Anthropology

“The Art of Activism,” with Stacey Gibson, for U of T Magazine

Graduate Students

Mathew Gagne

Dylan Gordon

William Hébert

Kevin Nixon

Seth Palmer

Celeste Pang

Elliott Tilleczek

George Mantzios