Aydan Shahdadpuri


I’m interested in how the idea of nationhood develops through early modern drama, how this sense of nation relies on the production and discipline of discrete selfhood, and how both self and nation are doubly engendered/threatened through racialized discourses of sex and desire. Particularly compelling to me is how early modern humoral conceptions of anatomy give rise to bodily anxieties about the porousness of the nation and of the self, and to political investments in the regulation of individual bodies and desires. From the currents of these anxieties, I look to draw out resistive practices of queerness—which I think of not as an anachronistic sexual or gender category but as an affective and political insistence on opening to desires that unseat bounded, stably-sexed selfhood, that jeopardize colonial expansion, and that endanger the reproductive future of the nation. Extending past/alongside early modern literature, I have a transhistorical interest in the creation of nation-states through the discipline of sex, gender, and bodies, especially in the context of South and Southeast Asia.

I’m also an enthusiastic home cook, an obsessive cat dad, and a dramaturg of both new and classical work. Prior to my arrival at UChicago, I was the Artistic Fellow at the Off-Broadway theatre Playwrights Horizons in New York City.