Dr. Yasmin Nair is a freelance writer, activist, academic, and commentator. The bastard child of queer theory and deconstruction, Nair has numerous critical essays, book reviews, investigative journalism, op-eds, and photography to her credit. She has appeared in publications like In These Times, Monthly Review, The Awl, The Chicago Reader, GLQ, The Progressive, make/shift, Time Out Chicago, The Bilerico Project, Windy City Times, Bitch, Maximum Rock’n’Roll, and No More Potlucks.
Nair's writing and organising address issues like neoliberalism and inequality, queer politics and theory, the politics of rescue and affect, sex trafficking, the art world, and the immigration crisis. Her work also appears in various anthologies and journals, including Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex, Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters and How to Stop It, Windy City Queer: Dispatches from the Third Coast, Arab Studies Quarterly and Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Newspapers in America.
Nair is a co-founder and member of the editorial collective Against Equality; she contributed essays on gay marriage, hate crime legislation, and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to their book, Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion. She is also a member of the Chicago grassroots organisation Gender JUST (Justice United for Societal Transformation) and serves as its Policy Director (a volunteer position). Nair was, from 1999-2003, a member of the now-defunct Queer to the Left. Her activist work includes gentrification, immigration, public education, and youth at risk.
She is currently working on a book titled Strange Love: Neoliberalism, Affect, and the Invention of Social Justice. The work looks critically at social justice movements, including those organised around autism, animal rights, immigration reform, gay marriage, and workplace feminism. It argues that "movements" organised around these issues adopt the language and even the strategies of left/radical politics while in fact being deeply embedded in a pallid liberal and often even deeply conservative framework.
This website is an archive of her published work and provides updates on her latest and forthcoming projects and appearances. The tabs are being re-organised but, for now: they are fairly self-explanatory, and the work is organised by genre. I Don’t Live Here Anymore is a blog focused on political and cultural commentary. Off The Books is a blog about books: it includes multi-book reviews and critical essays on the state of books and publishing, and Book Reviews includes many reviews (we're working on resolving a slight glitch and getting the former to list more pieces). Gay Marriage Hurts My Breasts is a compendium of her work on gay marriage. In an era when even the so-called "Left" has claimed gay marriage as some kind of anti-capitalist cause, it seemed necessary to heighten and illuminate a critique of gay marriage - a movement that increases economic inequality, rather than decreasing it. Currently, I Don't Live Here Anymore is the best way to track her writing, from most recent to oldest, as we work on updating the other sections.
Nair is a shameless and relentless self-promoter and will happily appear on your show/blog/any media outlet without asking for pay. But she will not write for free, under any conditions. Please understand that even the prospect of writing for a “prestige” publication will not change her mind: she has refused offers from many such. Nair has written extensively about the necessity of paying writers and paying them well, and you can begin to read her several works on this in “On Writers as Whores, Scabs, and Interns, and the Jacobin problem.”
She is easily won over with cat videos and cat-related paraphernalia — unless you are trying to get her to write for free, a matter on which she is immovable (see above).
Nair lives in Chicago with her two cats, one of whom is technically dead but lives on in a more-than-metaphysical sense.
Please do not send any materials, such as books for review, to any of the publications listed above.