Ratna Kapur


I am entering this conversation as a comparativist who wants to complicate the received wisdom about India in the West in regard to matters of sex, desire and the law. I want to address three issues:* First, how sex generally and alternative sexuality more specifically, are emerging as zones of contest in the legal arena and are simultaneously cast as cultural controversies in post-colonial India.* Second, I address how sexual subalterns, that is, gays, lesbians and sexworkers, are challenging dominant sexual and cultural norms.* And finally, I examine why a project of pleasure and desire is an important political goal in a post-colonial context.


Keynote address at the Re-Orienting Law and Sexuality Conference, October 23, 1999, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.