Anthropology in Action: From Classroom Reading to Influential Storytelling

June 25, 2024

In Fall of 2023, little did Grace Fausett ’25 know when she enrolled in ANT 337 Queer Becomings that Dr. Aniruddhan Vasudevan’s course and course reading list would lead her to interview one of its authors, A. Revathi. 

ANT 337 Queer Becomings asks students to consider the questions that queer lifeworlds pose in diverse cultural and sociopolitical contexts. Part of this process was an introduction to A. Revathi’s memoir, The Truth About Me - A Hijra Life Story.  A. Revathi, a writer, activist, and performer based in Begaluru, India is also a transwoman and member of the Thirunagai/Hijra community. Her experiences have informed her life goals to fight tirelessly as a trans activist. Revathi’s story resonated with Grace so much so that she approached Dr. Vasudevan about interviewing Revathi for Alturi, an influential storytelling project tasked with providing a venue for the unique and inspiring window into the lives of LGBTI people worldwide. 

A. Revathi had visited the University’s campus in 2022-2023 to share her Vellai Mozji – Frankly Speaking: An Indian Trans Woman’s Life Journey as part of the inaugural event for Power, Inequality, Dissent series curated by Dr. Harini Kumar (Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Chadha Center for Global India and Lecturer for Anthropology Spring 2024) and Professor Divya Cherian (Associate Professor, History) and sponsored by the MS Chadha Center for Global India at Princeton University. And in spring of 2024, A. Revathi visited Dr. Vasudevan and the University again — this time as a guest speaker for ANT 318 Global Cultures of Dissent taught by Dr. Harini Kumar — to discuss Revathi’s memoir The Truth About Me - A Hijra Life Story

Moved by her earlier interaction with Revathi’s memoir, and facilitated by her relationship with Dr. Vasudevan and Fausett’s own involvement with Alturi, Fausett asked if Dr. Vasudevan would assist with an interview with Revathi. With Dr. Vasudevan as the live interpreter between Tamil and English, the three conducted a zoom interview to share with global audiences A. Revathi: A Life in Trans Activism: A Hijra Life Story.  (Please follow this link to read more about A. Revathi in Grace Fausett’s article.) For a full listing of Anthropology’s Fall 2024 course offerings, please follow this link

 

Grace Fausett is an Anthropology major in the Class of 2025 and is in the Sociocultural track. 

Dr. Aniruddhan Vasudevan, Lecturer in Anthropology, will be offering ANT 337 Queer Becomings, Fall 2024. 

For more information about A. Revathi’s life and advocacy work, see her memoir, The Truth About Me: A Hijra Life Story, her autobiographical play, “Frankly Speaking,” and her other books, A Life in Trans Activism and Our Lives Our Worlds: Telling Aravani Life Stories.