Carceral Intimacies: Anti-Racist organizing in Delhi’s African Kitchens
In this talk E.Gabriel Dattatreyan theorizes what he has come to call carceral intimacies, unexpected relations of closeness and mutuality that emerge when everyday violence, the threat of prison, and the potential for deportation emerge as imminent threats for temporary racialized communities. He grounds his theorization of carceral intimacies in his long-term ethnographic research project on contemporary African migration to India. In this project he focuses on the African kitchens - informal restaurants and speakeasies run by Francophone West African women that have emerged in Delhi to serve students, entrepreneurs, and refugees from across the continent who make their lives in India - to think through the various registers of intimacy that emerge between and across racial, ethnic, caste, and gendered difference. His attention to carceral intimacies brings into sharp focus how overt and implicit anti-racist organizing that emerge in Delhi’s African kitchen mobilize various forms of difference in order to disrupt racist policing and detention.
Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan is an ethnographer, filmmaker, and visual artist. His written and creative works attend to processes of racialization, performances of masculinity, and Afro-Asian interactions and their histories across India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He is the author of two books, The Globally Familiar: Digital Hip Hop, masculinity, and urban space in Delhi, India ( 2020 Duke University Press) and Digital Unsettling: Decoloniality and Dispossession in the age of Social Media (2023 with Sahana Udupa, NYU Press). Gabriel’s films have screened in international festivals, including the Tasveer International Film Festival, Ethnografilm Paris, The International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), and the German International Ethnographic Film Festival. He has exhibited his video and sound installations in various venues, including Khoj Arts (Delhi), the Slought Foundation (Philadelphia), and Bow Arts (London). He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, New York University having previously taught visual anthropology for several years at Goldsmiths, University of London.
This seminar is part of the EuroStorie Research Seminar Series "Racism and anti-racism in Europe and beyond". In our autumn research seminar, we trace and debate racism and anti-racism in Europe and beyond, discussing the intersection of race, citizenship, and policing. Bordering regimes play a pervasive role in daily life, extending beyond political boundaries and official encounters. This seminar series examines how border dynamics, along with policing, deportations, and communal resistance efforts intersect at the governmental and personal levels, bridging conceptual and physical realms.