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Sonakshi Srivastava

A Tempus Public Foundation fellow, Sonakshi Srivastava is an MPhil candidate at

Indraprastha University, Delhi where she researches Speculative Fictions, Theory of Discard,

and Affect. She is also an incoming writing tutor at Ashoka University. She previously

graduated from the University of Delhi, and her works have appeared in OddMagazine,

Feminism in India, Potluck Zine, orangepeel mag, and ESLA journal. She has been the

recipient of the national story writing competition, “MyStory Contest” organized by TATA

LitLive, the international literature festival of Mumbai thrice. She was one of the transaltion

recipients of South Asia Speaks mentorship programme, and her translations have appeared,

or are upcoming in Asia Foods Zine, Rhodora Magazine, Hakara journal, the Bilingual

Window. She was also shortlisted for the 2020 Serendipity FoodLab Residency.

Website: Twitter: @SonakshiS11


Bodies of Horror:

Emmanuel Levinas writes, “It would seem that the human individual

should be thought of first within the formal framework of his belonging to a genus- the

human genus. He is part of a whole, divided into species and culminating in an undivided

unity, in the logically ultimate identity of the individual, situated among empirical data and

recognizable by specific spatial and temporal indices, in which that unity presents itself as a

“being” in its particularity, and which according to Aristotle, “alone exists”, beyond the ideal

or abstract existence of genera” (Levinas 169). Levinas’ dwelling on “uniqueness” can be

read as an interpretation of the idea that binds human beings, or in fact any organism to a

particular form, a particular group that they must stay true to. Any aberration is bound to

tease the senses into unease, evoking emotional reactions, and/or ostracization. Martha

Nussbaum takes a cue from Levinas, and in her work, “Hiding from Humanity” provides a

brief understanding of how the emotions of shame and disgust “concern the borders of the

body” (87), and arbitrarily require uniformity. As Rosenkranz writes, “in the concept of the

human, there is no ugliness. This concept, as the concept of reason and freedom demands its

realization in exterior appearance through the regularity of form”, therefore the irregularity/

non uniformity can be said to contribute to ugliness, thereby giving rise to the emotion of

disgust. I seek to explore the aesthetics of this emotion called disgust that creates a schism

between the self and the (an)other. I wish to explore the politics of exclusion that undergirds

the idea of Xennoverse– how “difference” is constructed via the odious emotion of disgust,

and what it tells us about the politics of othering, and (co)existence.

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