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Aanjali Allegakoen Oral History Interview

At the time of this interview, Aanjali Allegakoen is a M.A. and PhD candidate in American Studies at the College of William and Mary. In this interview, Aanjali discusses growing up in a relatively apolitical (with regards to Tamil politics and the civil war) environment while also having progressive parents, and how this allowed her to embrace her identity and political orientations in ways that were self-determined and foregrounded by her queerness. She speaks about how the progressive environment in her household contributed to her ability to feel a sense of freedom in defining her own identity without feeling any less Tamil. She also discusses her Christian upbringing, and how her Tamil Christian family was impacted by the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings, having been desensitized to violence.

Aanjali discusses her own archival project documenting the experiences of LGBTQ+ and femme Tamils in the U.S. and Canada, the importance of archiving experiences of the Tamil diaspora, and the ethical implications around doing so in a way that is decolonial. Aanjali discusses the political polarization in the Tamil diaspora, and how archiving could make it possible to transcend political differences and allow for generative possibility. This interview is important because Aanjali provides this project with a meta-narrative around the potential for a decolonial diasporic Tamil archive, and discusses how documenting histories in ways that uplift and empower those marginalized within our own community is important as a way of transcending conflict. Also, we explicitly discuss how someone is no less Tamil for being queer, and that there needs to be more mutual respect from older generations for young people.

Photo courtesy of UConn Human Rights Symposium

Education, Activism, Gender & Sexuality, Family, Political Engagement, Identity

Duration: 01:32:43

Subject(s): Aanjali Allegakoen
Type: Oral History
Source: Archival Creators Fellowship Program
Creator: Kartik Amarnath
Contributor: Aanjali Allegakoen
Location: Williamsburg, VA

Collection: Kartik Amarnath Fellowship project
Donor: Aanjali Allegakoen
Item History: 2022-06-24 (created); 2022-06-29 (modified)

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