In the Wake of Intimacy

This book on queer affects of saintly company is set in Sehwan, a pilgrimage town in Pakistan (currently under review). It is centered around life-stories of women, men and transgenders who on the basis of their growing bonds with an antinomian saint, question inherited paths, forego straight economies of family and work, and turn to less-ordinary futures as spiritual guides (fakirs). I conceptualize saintly-religious pursuits in terms of complex formations of intimacy and intimacy itself as futural. My argument follows that imaginal-material coming close to saints, be it in dream-meetings, via attachment to relics, cohabiting with spirit mediums or directly at saints’ places, harbors queer import insofar as conditions of saintly intimacy illuminate possibilities to exceed inherited or expected lifelines. I am interested in how commitment to a religious object or intimacy with a saint in Pakistan endures as an unstraight figure of futurity – not a rejection of the worldly but a worlding with saints. The work’s epistemic labors are seduced by the opportunities of interlocution that an interface of queer theoretical perspectives has to offer to the study of religion and society in Pakistan while opening up the contours of queer theory itself to under-considered and unlikely scenes and sites of dialogue.