Soli Sorabjee Lectures in South Asian Studies


"Racialized Communalisms, Criminalized Queers and the Police in Contemporary India"
Prof. Jyoti Puri, Simmons College

November 2, 2011
Mandel Center for the Humanities, Atrium

On November 2nd, the Mandel Center for the Humanities Atrium was crowded with students and faculty from across disciplines, all gathered together to hear the words of Professor Jyoti Puri from Simmons College. 

Jyoti_faculty She spent the evening presenting her experiences and research involving policemen in New Delhi, India and the ways they respond to homosexuality in terms of their own racial background, prejudices, and the law. 

The lecture was introduced by Professor Thomas King, the head of the new Sexuality and Queer Studies at Brandeis University. He described Professor Puri’s integral relevance to the field of Sexuality Studies, and the uniqueness of the case of India, especially in terms of dealing with ethnic minorities and pejorative queerings.

Professor Puri then began her talk, titled, “Racialized Communalisms, Criminalized Queers and the Police in Contemporary India.” Her insights included the exploration of the enforcement of sodomy law, or Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

She went on to analyze the discourses through which Delhi Police choose to name some groups as consistently queer and criminal, even while allowing for the decriminalization of homosexuality. Racializations, sexual rights and governance in contemporary are just some of the topics she highlighted in her presentation.

Jyoti_discussionAfterwards, she entertained insightful questions from the audience. Professor Puri expanded upon the process she undertook to conduct her fieldwork and gave further insights into how homosexuality is defined and dealt with in contemporary India.