Soli Sorabjee lecture to address decriminalizing homosexuality in India

Simmons College Professor Jyoti Puri will speak

Jyoti Puri, an associate professor of sociology and women’s studies at Simmons College will be speaking about the possibilities of decriminalizing homosexuality in India on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 5 p.m. in Rapaporte Treasure Hall.

The lecture, "Racialized Communalisms, Criminalized Queers, and the Police in Contemporary India," will be part of the Soli Sorabjee Lectures in South Asian Studies. The Soli Sorabjee Lecture Series is sponsored by the South Asian Studies Program and the Brandeis-India Initiative. It was created in honor of Soli Sorabjee, a renowned human rights lawyer and attorney general of India from 1989 to 1990 and 1998 to 2004.

According to Professor Harleen Singh, faculty director of the Brandeis-India Initiative, the purpose of the Soli Sorabjee Lecture Series is to bring together scholars, academics, and eminent figures in South Asian sociology, economics and politics in order to help bring different and fresh perspectives to the small South Asian Studies program at Brandeis and allow for broadening of students’ perspectives of the field.

Puri will be drawing on her fieldwork among police in New Delhi, one of India’s largest urban cities, to explore the enforcement of sodomy law and the disregard of sexual rights in India today. She will analyze how the Delhi police name some groups as consistently queer and criminal, racializations that are enforced by present Indian law.

“This is a health issue, a human rights issue, and a civil rights issue,” Singh says. “India is emerging as one of the largest democracies in the world. With the notion of contemporary India, it has become imperative that old, colonial laws be put up for reconsideration.”

Categories: Humanities and Social Sciences, International Affairs

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