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Reading: Queer Tactility: Same-sex Intimacies between Women in Chutney and Soca Music


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Research Article

Queer Tactility: Same-sex Intimacies between Women in Chutney and Soca Music


Krystal N Ghisyawan ,

Independent Scholar, US
About Krystal
Dr. Krystal Nandini Ghisyawan is an independent scholar and former postdoctoral associate at Rutgers Advanced Institute for Critical Caribbean Studies. She did undergraduate work in Anthropology and South Asian Studies at York University, Toronto, and PhD work at the University of the West Indies, in Trinidad. Her work focuses on the queer Decolonial practices of same-sex loving women in Trinidad and Tobago, including their manoeuvring with space, time and discourse. Her upcoming book "Erotic Cartographies: Mapping the queer Caribbean subject" details the women's cognitive negotiations with spatial and social relations to discursively create safe spaces and community. The book details subjective mapping techniques as queer decolonial methodology, offering new ways of understanding and depicting human experience that is not constrained by the discourses and ideologies of coloniality.
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Preity R Kumar

The College of New Jersey, US
About Preity
Dr. Preity Kumar is a visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the College of New Jersey. She holds a PhD in Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies from York University, Toronto, Canada.
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As a space, pop culture is an epicenter for queerness; music, especially, has a history of giving LGBTQ subjects representation, visibility, and an opening to be subversive. Music is no different in the Caribbean region, as it plays an essential role in offering political commentary, reflecting the region’s changing values and culture, and speaking to the integration and barriers facing different ethnic groups. Significantly, music is a space in which people in the Caribbean region unite, regardless of their differences. This article focuses on soca and chutney-soca as genres that engage in the complicated politics of queerness and queer desires. We analyze how Destra’s “Rum and Soca” and Princess Anisa’s “Tek Sunita” unmask complicated historical and contemporary tensions associated with race, gender, class, and sexual desire. This essay proposes an affectual queer tactile framework to examine and postulate queerness in the region as apparent through touch and texture modalities. In doing so, we demonstrate that while queerness is part of the region’s colonial social hierarchies, it simultaneously allows for their reimagining.


Como espacio, la cultura pop es un epicentro de lo queer; la música, especialmente, tiene la historia de brindarles a los sujetos LGBTQ representación, visibilidad y una apertura para ser subversivos. La música no es distinta en la región del Caribe, ya que desempeña un papel esencial al ofrecer comentarios políticos, reflejar los valores cambiantes y la cultura de la región y al hablar de la integración y las barreras que enfrentan los diferentes grupos étnicos. De modo significativo la música es un espacio en el que las personas del Caribe se unen, haciendo caso omiso de sus diferencias. Este artículo se centra en la música soca y chutney-soca como géneros que se involucran en la complicada política de lo queer y los deseos queer. Analizamos cómo “Rum and Soca” de Destra y “Tek Sunita” de Princesa Anisa desenmascaran las complicadas tensiones históricas y contemporáneas asociadas con la raza, el género, la clase y el deseo sexual. Este ensayo propone un marco táctil queer afectuoso para examinar y postular que lo queer en la región queda patente a través de las modalidades táctiles y texturales. Al hacerlo, demostramos que si bien lo queer es parte de las jerarquías sociales coloniales de la región, a la vez permite su reimaginación.

How to Cite: Ghisyawan, K.N. and Kumar, P.R., 2020. Queer Tactility: Same-sex Intimacies between Women in Chutney and Soca Music. Middle Atlantic Review of Latin American Studies, 4(2), pp.87–105. DOI:
Published on 27 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed


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