Diego Garcia Rodriguez

About me: Born and raised in Hellin, Spain, I grew up within a working-class family who always encouraged me to study hard. I hold a Master of Science in Asian Studies (Lund University/National University of Singapore) and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism (University Complutense of Madrid, University of Tampere and Korea University). Since I left Spain in 2011, I have lived and worked in between Europe and Asia in, among other countries, Finland, South Korea, Sweden, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. My Master’s dissertation at Lund University explored the emergence of progressive discourses within Indonesian Islam in relation to non-normative genders and sexualities. Some of the scholarships I have received throughout my career are the Erasmus Scholarship to study at the University of Tampere in Finland, the Complutense Exchange Scholarship to attend Korea University in Seoul (South Korea), the Exchange Scholarship to study at the National University of Singapore and the NIAS SUPRA Nordic scholarship at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark).

When not working from my office chair, I enjoy wandering around London, travelling to Spain to see my family and friends, pretending to be a singer, eating nasi goreng and losing my keys.

My research: Since I first visited Indonesia in 2014, the country has become the key location of my research, through which I explore gender, sexuality and religious issues.

While dominant discourses have perpetuated the assumption that Islam is a monolithic and barbaric religion that oppresses women and non-normative genders and sexualities, Muslims the world over have found ways to experience Islam as an ‘empowering’ force. Using the Indonesian island of Java as my primary fieldwork site, my research aims to examine the role that intersecting gender, sexuality and religious subjectivities and subject positions play in relation to the emergence of potential religious ‘empowerment’ processes and outcomes.

The difference my research makes: The contribution that my research makes to contemporary scholarship on Indonesia, Islam, gender and sexuality is both empirical and theoretical. Empirically, it provides an account of the lived realities of Indonesian Muslims. Theoretically, I aim to make use of my empirical data to challenge the assumption that women and queer Muslims are oppressed subjects in need of saving by conceptualising queer religious powers as part of potential contingent and fluid ‘empowering’ processes and outcomes. This means paying attention to the ways in which religion, gender and sexuality are experienced in these actors’ everyday religion exploring both their intrapersonal and interactional dimensions. In this manner, I aim to explore the ways in which certain Muslim subjects replicate, strengthen, resist and rework norms and potential tensions. This will take place considering what agency, freedom, liberation and norms might mean in the Indonesian context against their conceptualisations in liberal thought. In order to do so, my study rejects the understanding of agency as simple resistance aiming to trace the emergence of modalities of action that are operationalised in the intersection of various selves by performing, inhabiting and experiencing norms in diverse ways.

Supervisors: Dr Richard Mole and Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh

Publications and conferences:

Pathway: Gender and Sexuality

Location: UCL Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry (CMII)

Email: diego.rodriguez.16@ucl.ac.uk

Academia.edu: UCL Diego Garcia Rodriguez

Twitter: @/__diegogarcia__