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Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Progress and Its Other: Sexuality, Temporality and Urbanization in India

On Thursday, March 31, 2016, CSWGS is pleased to present a Gray/Wawro Lecture in Gender, Health, and Well-being from Svati P. Shah, Associate Professor of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  The lecture will take place at 6PM on the Rice University campus in Herring Hall, Room 100.  

This lecture is free and open to the public, but space is limited, so register today!  

Discourses of sexuality are integral to questions of migration, economic growth, and urbanization in India.  This lecture explores these connections through ethnographic engagements in two arenas: female migrants who sell sexual services in the city of Mumbai, and Indian LGBTQ social movements. While the new Indian state has clearly marginalized questions of economic equality to the requirements of private capital, profound changes have taken place in discourses on sexuality. One main feature of these changes is that if sex work has been subject to ‘temporal distancing,’ then ‘gay rights’ is increasingly framed as a sign of the times. Despite the different discursive trajectories of sexual commerce and LGBTQ rights within the Indian context, the stakes of these trajectories include both the production of ideal sexual subjects, and the imaginary for India’s economic future.  

Shah headshotSvati Shah’s research ethnographically examines the intersections of sexuality, migration, and discourses of economic development and growth, particularly through studies of sexual commerce and LGBTQ politics in India. Her work has been published in scholarly journals and popular print and online venues, as well as the 2014 book “Street Corner Secrets: Sex, Work and Migration in the City of Mumbai” (Duke University Press). Before joining the faculty at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Shah received a postdoctoral fellowship in Sexuality Studies at Duke University and served as Visiting Assistant Professor at both Wellesley College and New York University. While at UMass Amherst, she received a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar Award for research in India. She continues to work with a number of charitable foundations and community based organizations, both in the United States and in India.  

For our off-campus guests, we advise arriving early to allow time for traffic and parking.  Convenient paid parking is available in the Central Parking Garage, most accessible from campus entrances 4, 8, and 20.  For more information, visit http://www.rice.edu/maps.