Koonal Duggal is an art scholar currently teaching Art History at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India. He completed his MA in Art History and Aesthetics from M.S. University Baroda and has a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from the EFLU, Hyderabad. The title of his Ph.D. thesis is Crossing Religious Boundaries: Representation, Caste, and Identity in Contemporary Punjab. His research interests revolve around the politics of caste, religion and popular visual culture.
At EFLU, while speaking at a public event organized on Ambedkar Jayanti, Koonal was also subjected to institutional homophobia and casteism when the Proctor's office sent guards to evict them from campus and branded them as 'anti-university' in subsequent restrictions placed on them.
In a statement challenging the University Administration's behaviour Koonal wrote: "Just when I was beginning to firmly locate myself in the public space and discourse as a politically educated and empowered Dalit-Queer individual, and when I was writing and speaking more about it, my political self-realization and assertion is broken and violently disrupted by the EFLU administration that has been historically known for discriminating and harassing Dalit students. It is as if such upper-caste institutions will not stop persecuting Dalits for their caste identity, whether they run from it or whether I embrace it." Koonal is currently working on a project awarded by the Sher-Gil Sundaram Art Foundation and Asia Art Archive Grant for histories of ideas, art writing, and visual culture. In addition to this, they have also illustrated for Sara Joseph's story titled "Smells and Stenches". He recently spoke at a panel titled ‘Disidentifications: Conversations on Everyday Caste and Queerness’ as a part of Kochi-Muziriz Biennale,2019 with fellow Dalit Queer activists Chinju Aswathi, and Aleena Akashamittayi.
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