Faculty and Staff


Jessica Hinchy (Assistant Professor)


Telephone: 6592 1781
Email: jhinchy@ntu.edu.sg

Mailing Address
Nanyang Technological University
School of Humanities
48 Nanyang Avenue, HSS-05-18
Singapore 639818


My research 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.’

I teach courses on modern South Asian history (HH3008 and HH4017), gender history (HH2002), the history of feminism (HH3041), British colonialism (HH2021) and slavery (HH4011).

Future plans

In 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.


Selected Publications​

A full list of publications can be found here.​

  • Governing 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): 414-437.

  • Obscenity, Moral Contagion and Masculinity: Hijras in Public Space in Colonial North India,’ Asian Studies Review 38, no. 2 (2014): 274-94.