Student Work

  • Fashion Studies (MA)

    Aanchal Jiwrajka

    American Born, Confused Desi: Fashioning Hybrid Identities in the South Asian Diaspora

    This thesis explores how fashion functions as a tool for members of the diaspora to negotiate their hybrid identities and produce multiple forms of racialized embodiment. Using intensive interviews and deconstruction of images, it looks at how fashion unfolds across artistic production. Using the stories of three South Asian_American female artists and their work, it maps the potentialities of South Asian feminine embodiment to forge new possibilities of hybridized expression. By placing ethnographic analyses in dialogue with social and historical contexts, the thesis develops key findings that assist in clarifying the entanglements of working plural identities. First, stylistic experimentations of fashion, such as wearing of the saree, have become an instrument through which women assert new spaces of diasporic belonging in the current climate of anti-brown racism. Second, cultural cartographies of diasporic politics are fostered through intersections of art, fashion and new media spaces. Third, fashion marks the locus at which competing conflicts of diasporic embodiment and feminist power overlap. Overall, this thesis presents how South Asian_Americans are realigning structures of class and citizenship by creating new forms of identity rather than through notions of assimilation, and how such such embodiments are restructuring the hegemonic orders of patriarchy.