Kristin Bright is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Middlebury College and affiliated faculty with the Department of Anthropology Graduate Program at the University of Toronto. Her research is focused on practices of therapeutic knowledge production, biopolitics, and care in South Asia and North America. Since 2017, she has been directing an ethnographic lab called The Body Online, dedicated to student research and design in areas such as human machine relations of care, neurodiversity, and anti-authoritarianism.


Strangers in Their Own Flesh: An intimate story about Trump and Modi

At the height of the culture wars in 1980s America, the religious right put the policing of intimate acts at the center of a discourse about the health of the nation. Restoring national vitality was intertwined with stopping abortion, pornography, homosexuality, divorce, and the entry of women into the public sphere. This paper reads Donald Trump’s America and Narendra Modi’s India against the family values politics of earlier periods while pointing to the biopolitical shifts that give new wings to authoritarianism. Trump and Modi’s nationalisms are at once besieged and transformed by vile congresswomen, unholy carnivores, and crazy socialists, which is what gives them affective resonance. At the same time, recognizing the intimacy of abjection should not blind us to the force it authorizes.

Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs
Robert A. Jones 59 House
148 Hillcrest Road
Middlebury, VT 05753