Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, English and Literary Arts

First Advisor

Selah Saterstrom


Creative writing


Queerly as the Night is a personal and mythic denial of post-colonialism. The manuscript works to deliver accounts of contemporary colonialism between an American daughter and her Indian, immigrant father, demonstrating the ways in which colonialism assigned to the prefix, “post,” meaning after or subsequent to, is a faulty and irresponsible negation of continued habitual and increasingly intangible systematic colonialisms in America and globally. The manuscript engages and examines the sociopolitical implications of the prepositional phrase on the body and citizen, immigrant and first and second-generation identity. The concepts of citizen and immigrant have been abstracted to mean more than the legal documentation connecting a person to a nation. In the manuscript the concept of “citizenship” relates not only to one’s belonging to a country, but also their belonging to and placements within their body, desires and family/lineage.

The text questions the prepositional phrase, and its attempt to pin, locate and delineate diverse bodies, desires and lineages to specific affiliations; it tries to separate positionality from designations enforced by pre(conceptions, -emptive actions, -natal expectations and -scriptive assumptions, etc). The preposition often denies contextual unfoldings, the way a body, desire, citizen, immigrant or lineage evolves beyond preconditions. In the manuscript, the evolution away from normative positionalities and narratives is queerness, and queers of all kinds (lesbians, immigrants, dark-skinned, mixed-blood bodies and desires, for example) reside in the unlit margins. Queerly as the Night imagines the margins to be a queer space full of queer individuals, who like jelly fish, in their transparency, resemble their watery environment, and become not invisible, but less defined and even unreadable. As Fred Moten and Stefano Harney point out in The Undercommons, nurturing dissonance of identity forces colonial gestures into chaos and allows one to become what Sarah Ahmed terms, “dis-oriented,” within systems of colonization. And while this does not disseminate colonialism (an impossibility for Moten), it re-orients colonialism towards systems of oppression; in a phrase, it is the act of colonizing the colonizers. This necessitates unity between queers among each other and the darkness.

The identity politics of post-colonialism that, though significant for their contemporary struggles, defined and made visible the differences between residents of the margin and, in an act of self-inflicted pre-colonial gestures, lead to the fracturing between queers. However, in an act of calling-out the fact of post-colonial academia, I have imagined that post-post-colonialism might be a gesture of moving beyond identity politics into what Moten and Harney call “beyond the beyond,” where dissonance, after leaving the need for harmony completely behind, has crafted a wilderness so potent with a wildness totally unpredictable and beyond itself that “the structures that we inhabit and that inhabit us” become unrecognizable and undesirable. In other words, our need for the well-lit and well-defined is taken over by non-linear, simultaneous, multiple and unsettled rhythms of darknesses. In recognizing their shared situation, queers can work to re-imagine and re-situate colonization as an act of responsive, rhizomatic activism. Referencing a concept by Lisa Robertson, the manuscript imagines a rhizome that working internally and between, imposes itself unpredictably and multiply on to existing structures of colonial capital, thereby shifting them to be responsive to the multiple and transient desires, rather than those belonging to singular entities of power. The text also questions how and where these queer impositions exist in relation to system they impose upon.

The manuscript, in working with the idea that each human is prenataly precolonized, examines how the postnatal can be a condition that, in accepting postcolonialism as a fallacy, one can re-imagine colonialism as a tool for undermining the continued legacy of Eurocentric, heteronormative, patriarchic colonialisms. In other words, the margins is a place from which queers of all kinds can work with the darkness, in their transparency, multiplicity and simultaneity, to continually re-colonize the habitual and increasingly intangible systematic colonialisms by un-concepting pre-positionalities and disorienting the preconditions, prescriptions, et cetera of identity.

In disorienting the preconditions, one ends up between worlds, countries, bodies, desires and families, et cetera—from the sociopolitical margins, the Pre-colonized human does not lean neatly against prepositions that define and make-visible limited positionalities and subjectivities. Rather, the Pre-colonized marginalized human finds kinship in rhythms of charged darkness, the potent but abstract sensation of being a queer citizen in a largely un-queered world, where she is both empowered and disenfranchised by her darkness, where she is simultaneously and multiply positioned between shades of historical and contemporary, homeland and landed home, first and second generations, traditions and queernesses, white and non-white skins, politics and positionalities.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. This work may only be accessed by members of the University of Denver community. The work is provided by permission of the author for individual research purposes only and may not be further copied or distributed. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Serena Chopra


Received from author

File Format




File Size

170 pgs


Creative writing