SALC 22482/32482 The Other Woman: Sexual Deviancy in South Asia
The figure of the public, often sexually deviant, female in South Asia has existed and been imagined in myriad ways over the centuries, including as courtesans, temple workers, and royal mistresses. In the colonial period, multiple forms of supposed female deviancy began to be labeled with another term— “prostitute”—leading to the loss of social status and legal rights of many women. In this course, we will study the evolution of prostitution and female otherness in South Asian cultural and political history. We will explore how the female deviant shaped religious, social and political life; how notions of sex, sexuality and intimacy informed classical dance, music, literature and performing arts; and how sex work came to be defined and stigmatized by the colonial and postcolonial states in South Asia.