A roundtable featuring D’Lo, Swati Khurana, Rajiv Menon, Mallika Rao, & Imran Siddiquee
(Co-sponsored event with the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at NYU)
** SEATING IS ON A FIRST-COME BASIS. DOORS OPEN AT 5:30 PM **
D’Lo, actor, writer, comedian
Swati Khurana, artist, writer
Rajiv Menon, Visiting Scholar, Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality, New York University
Mallika Rao, essayist, critic, reporter
Imran Siddiquee, filmmaker, speaker, writer, activist
The last several years have seen a marked growth of visibility of South Asian American men in U.S. popular culture (comedians Aziz Ansari, Kumail Nanjiani, Hari Kondabolu, and Hasan Minhaj come to mind, as does the British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed’s character in HBO’s The Night Of). In a moment when our public discourse is defined by explicit racism and misogyny, South Asian American men find themselves at the crossroads of marginality and visibility, vulnerability and privilege. How have artists, writers, activists, and academics responded to this moment of upheaval surrounding brown masculinity?
D’Lo is a queer/transgender Tamil-Sri Lankan-American actor, writer and comic. His solo shows Ramble-Ations, D’FunQT and To T, or not To T have toured the college circuit, and theaters & festivals internationally. His work has been published or written about in academic journals anthologies (including: Desi Rap: Hip Hop and South Asia America and Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic (co-edited by Sharon Bridgforth) and Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics) with features in The Guardian, NBC, and The Advocate. He has appeared in Buzzfeed and Fusion videos and the award-winning documentary on his life/work Performing Girl. He facilitates writing for performance workshops and created the “Coming Out, Coming Home” writing workshop series which have taken place with South Asian and/or Immigrant LGBTQ Organizations nationally. As an actor, you might’ve seen him in Looking (HBO), Transparent (Amazon), Sense 8 (Netflix), Mr. Robot (USA) and the Issa Rae-produced show Minimum Wage. He is also a co-producer with a nationally touring group of Asian American comics, DisOriented Comedy.
Swati Khurana is an artist and writer who contemplates memory, pasts, artifice, artifacts, public spaces, popular culture, and the seductive promises made by rituals.She has received fellowships and residencies from Jerome Foundation, Bronx Arts Council, Center for Books Arts, Center for Fiction, Cooper Union, Bronx Museum, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Vermont Studio Center. Her essays and fiction have been published in The New York Times, Guernica, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Offing, The Rumpus, Art-India and in the Good Girls Marry Doctors anthology. She has presented her artwork in over a hundred group exhibitions and festivals, including at A/P/A Gallery (NYU), where she debuted her collaborative video installation “Dothead” (1999) featuring clips of Apu from the Simpsons, D.W. Griffith’s Gunga Din, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. In 1997, she was a founding member of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC), an organization dedicated to the advancement, visibility, and development of emerging and established South Asian women artists across disciplines. Recent projects include organizing a “Writing Politics Across Genres” panel at the 2016 SAWCC Litfest featuring writers whose work engages with Islamophobia, casteism, and racism; and making wood-block letterpress protest posters for SAWCC’s “Freedom Safety Now” action at the Indian Consulate following the Delhi bus gang-rape-murder (2012) and Jaishri Abichandani’s “Me Too” silent performance at the Met Breuer’s retrospective of Raghubir Singh (2017).
Rajiv Menon is an academic and consultant based in NYC and Los Angeles. Rajiv earned his PhD from NYU, focusing on representations of masculinity in Indian and American popular culture. A leading media strategist, Rajiv currently works with television networks and platforms to develop content and communications material based on analysis of the cultural landscape.
Mallika Rao is a writer covering race and culture, with a focus on the South Asian diaspora. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming on the Atlantic, newyorker.com, the New York Times, Vulture and the Village Voice. Her award-winning 2013 story on the legacy of the Simpsons character Apu was recently featured in the documentary The Problem With Apu.
Imran Siddiquee is a writer, filmmaker, and activist challenging limiting representations of gender and race in popular media. His essays on this topic have been published by The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, Longreads, and more. Imran is also the Communications Director at the Center for Media Justice and a collaborator with the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA). He was previously on the founding staff of The Representation Project, where he led nationwide campaigns to call-out sexist media and advised on The Mask You Live In, a documentary about American masculinity which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
This event is free & open to the public. Venue is accessible. For more information, please contact NYU CSGS at csgs(at)nyu.edu or 212-992-9540.
Facebook event page here.