The Centre for Studies in Gender and Sexuality (CSGS) has emerged as a necessary political and intellectual space in the country.
The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted lockdowns and induced socio-economic uncertainties, exacerbating the violence among vulnerable groups. At the same time, these extraordinary curbs have shrunk safe spaces to think and explore our most intimate realities in a non-phobic environment. The Centre’s engagement with the broader arc of these realities that include desire, politics, fantasy, queerness has become more important than ever.
In 2021, the work at the Centre focussed on urgent issues of the (post) pandemic world. The flagship series ISHQ: issues in society, history, & queerness explored the relevance of solidarity in queer movements; the politics of obscenity, sexuality, and censorship in digital spaces as well as contemporary transgressive women’s politics in the digital age.
As much as the concerns raised by the pandemic proved to be of much importance to the Centre’s work, it became equally relevant to bring together perspectives emerging through the digital medium across countries. The Summer of ISHQ webinar series, imagined as an expansion of the Centre’s ISHQ series hosted important thinkers such as Judith Butler, Jack Halberstam, Naisargi Dave, Ather Zia, among others, on questions of gender and sexuality in relation to law, cinema, education, rights, body, and borders.
CSGS collaborated with the Centre for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University for a series titled Theory and Practice: transnational conversations on gender and gender and sexuality (TAP) aimed at creating space for critical and creative conversations with scholars from the East and the West. The collaboration brought together scholars such as Sadia Abbas, Thenmozi Soundararajan, Flavia Agnes, among others.
The Centre was also successful in organizing virtual workshops on expanding diversity, exploring gender, and understanding laws around sexual harassment across educational spaces, corporate houses and non-profits in different parts of the country.
In addition to the Centre’s advocacy efforts, it strengthened the research footprint in the field of gender and sexuality. Under the research project titled Governing Intimacies, funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation and supported by the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.
CSGS also hired a post-doctoral research fellow as part of its efforts to produce cutting edge research that spans across geographies and institutions and aids in creating new avenues of advocacy in gender and sexuality. Under the aegis of the Mellon Grant, the Centre is also compiling a “resource directory” that lists every major organisation, institution, and individual working in the field of gender and sexuality studies in India. It is an urgent resource building on the Centre’s dual investment in research and advocacy.
Additionally, the Centre collaborated with the Haryana Police Department in conducting a performance audit of the Women Police Stations in Haryana to audit their efficiency in dealing with crimes against women in comparison to non-dedicated thanas, as well as the public perception of these police stations.
This year, the CSGS completes six years since its inception in 2015. To commemorate the work, the conversations and the relationships that have emerged out of this space, the CSGS launched a magazine
A lookback at the Centre's journey reflects its pursuit to think deeply about gender and sexuality in all its complexity and depth. It highlights the movements, issues, and writings of these uncertain and curious times as well as gives us a glimpse into the myriad queer feminist futures that lie ahead.