Hijras, Transgender Studies and Family Histories (Online Lecture)

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Hijras, Transgender Studies and Family Histories (Online Lecture)

Thursday, March 11 

5:30 p.m.–6:45 p.m., Online - Zoom


How do we translate the lives and relationships of historical subjects who did not conform to binary concepts of gender? In what ways have transgender studies and the history of the family been in conversation? The University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies welcomes Prof. Jessica Hinchy to share her fascinating research which engages with these questions in the context of South Asia, by examining the archiving of Hijras’ relationships in the nineteenth century. Hijras are feminine people, who are often performers and members of discipleship lineages. The late nineteenth century saw a colonial project to eliminate Hijras, which was backed by certain elite Indian men, resulting in substantial state records on Hijra households. This archive raises questions about how Hijras were rendered legible in the past and how their lives and relationships are translated in the present. I suggest that bringing together transgender studies and family histories foregrounds such questions of translation and invites us to consider more capacious histories of relatedness. 

Jessica Hinchy is an Assistant Professor of History at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. She researches the history of gender, sexuality, households and family in colonial north India. In 2019, Cambridge University Press published her first monograph, Governing Gender and Sexuality in Colonial India: The Hijra, c. 1850-1900. Her research has also appeared in Modern Asian Studies, Gender & History and Asian Studies Review, among other journals.