explores gender and sexuality in the context of British colonialism in India
and the Indian diaspora. In particular, I have explored the gender identities
and expression of marginalised social groups under colonial rule. My 2019 book,
titled Governing Gender and Sexuality in
Colonial India: The Hijra, c.
1850-1900, was the first book-length history of the colonial governance of
transgender embodiment and same-sex sexuality in India. This book explored the
history of the transgender Hijra
community in the context of their criminalisation as ‘eunuchs’ under colonial
law in 1871. My other publications have explored the politics surrounding
various forms of intimacy within marginalised communities, including sexual,
discipleship, enslaver-enslaved, kinship and parent-child relationships. This
research addresses a substantial lacuna in the gender history of modern South
Asia, which has overwhelmingly focused on the socially powerful ‘middle class.’
teach courses on modern South Asian history (HH3008 and HH4017), gender
history (HH2002), the history of feminism (HH3041), British colonialism
(HH2021) and slavery (HH4011).
2018, I received a ‘Tier 1’ grant from the Singaporean Ministry of Education
for a project titled ‘Gender and the Making of Caste Identities: Dalits in North India and Singapore.’
This project analyses the construction of gender and caste identities within
the most marginalised groups in the caste hierarchy—‘untouchable’ or Dalit communities—in north India and
Singapore. As a part of this project, I am researching the gender and family
history of the ‘criminal tribes,’ socially marginalised (and frequently Dalit) communities that were labelled
hereditary criminals by caste occupation under colonial law. In particular, my
research examines shifts in the gender norms, sexual practices, domestic
arrangements and caste identities of so-called ‘criminal tribes,’ as well as criminalised
communities’ relationships to the colonial state, Christian missionaries, Indian
socio-religious reform organisations and nationalist movements.
A full list of publications can be found here.
Gender and Sexuality in Colonial India: The Hijra, c. 1850-1900 (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2019).
‘The Eunuch Archive:
Colonial Records of Non-Normative Gender and Sexuality in India.’ Culture, Theory and Critique 58,
no. 2 (2017): 127-46.
‘The Sexual Politics of Imperial Expansion: Eunuchs and
Indirect Colonial Rule in Mid-Nineteenth-Century North India,’ Gender & History 26, no. 3 (2014):
‘Obscenity, Moral Contagion and Masculinity: Hijras in
Public Space in Colonial North India,’ Asian Studies Review 38, no. 2 (2014): 274-94.