Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
southasia masthead southasia masthead
Kamran Asdar Ali, Director WCH 4.132, Mailcode G9300, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-3550

Spring 2008

 Water 21

Conference Dates: March 27-29, 2008
Conference Location: AVAYA Auditorium (ACE 2.302)

"We'll never know the worth of water till the well go dry." -- 18th century Scottish proverb

We live in an era when environmental degradation and climate change make headlines in the evening news. Policymakers, scientists, and environmentalists clash over ways to preserve dwindling resources. International organizations have declared access to clean water a basic human right even though in many parts of the world it is barely a pipe dream.

We are not the first generation to worry about access to an ample supply of water. Some theorize that civilization itself began when nomadic populations were forced to settle permanently near reliable sources of water. But the issues today are more acute and more pressing than at any point in history.

Join us for a two-day conference featuring local, national, and international experts to discuss the cultural and political economies of water in the 21st century. From the Andes and Himalayas, to the oases of Egypt, the wilds of Siberia, and back to Barton Springs in Austin, we'll explore issues related to water in material and aesthetic production, conflict over water, conservation and resource management, and the issues of water as a human right.

Our opening event on Thursday, March 27, will feature Bill Bunch, Executive Director of the Save our Springs Alliance and Laura Dunn, director of The Unforseen.

On Friday evening, March 28, we will feature a screening of the Israeli film Atash [Thirst] with director Avi Kleinberg in attendance.

All panels are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact us.

AVAYA Auditorium is located on the ground floor of the ACES Building, on the southeast corner of the intersection of 24th St and Speedway on the University of Texas campus (ACE on this map).

The nearest public parking is available in the San Jacinto garage (SJG on this map) or the Speedway Garage (SWG on this map)

The conference is organized by the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies; the Center for Mexican-American Studies; the Center for Middle Eastern Studies; the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies; and the South Asia Institute.

Additional support for the conference has been provided by numerous units on campus, including the Office of the Vice President for Research; the Dean of Liberal Arts; the UT Environmental Law Clinic; the Jackson School of Geosciences; and the Center for International Business Education and Research.

Keynote

Bill Bunch, Executive Director, Save Our Springs Alliance
Laura Dunn, Producer/Director, The Unforeseen

Thursday, March 27, 2008
5 pm
AVAYA Auditorium, ACES 2.302

Barton Springs – fourth largest in Texas – has long been recognized as the "Soul of Austin." The springs emerge from the karst limestone Edwards Aquifer, the sole source drinking water supply for 1.5 million people, globally recognized as perhaps the world's most biologically diverse underground ecosystem, and recognized by the State as more vulnerable to pollution than any other major aquifer in Texas. The fight for the soul of Texas' capital city reflects the larger struggle of who we are, as a community and as a center of globalization.

Austin documentary filmmaker, Laura Dunn, will show clips of her award winning film, "The Unforeseen," which explores the local struggle to prevent pollution of Barton Springs from unchecked urban development. Film Comment's Gavin Smith called Dunn's film "the best film of the [2007 Sundance Film] festival, hands down." Variety film reviewer Robert Koehler wrote: Observing locally and thinking globally, Laura Dunn's astonishing debut doc feature "The Unforeseen" is the kind of transformative viewing experience that has made the current period a golden age for nonfiction film. . . . As a cinematic contemplation of human activity on the planet, it far surpasses "An Inconvenient Truth" and its more lecture-like message on global warming. See the film trailer and read the reviews.

Executive Director and attorney for Austin's Save Our Springs Alliance, Bill Bunch, will join Ms. Dunn for an update and dialogue on Austin's water wars. (Laura and Bill will also invite everyone to see the film and go for a swim at Barton Springs.)

Participants

Juan Alfaro, President, CEP International Juan Alfaro acquired his expertise in the water field firstly, in his country of origen, Peru; secondly as Head of the Water Sector (Water Supply, Wastewater, Solid Waste and Air) at the Inter American Development Bank (IADB), in Washington D.C for a period of 20 years; and thirdly as an international consultant for the past 10 years working, among other areas, on institutional development, including private sector participation (PSP), for water utilities in Latin America.

Mr. Alfaro is an environmental engineer (MS) with an extensive and successful career in the water sector. Mr. Alfaro has worked in the appraisal of a great number of investment projects as well as in technical cooperation, practically, in all countries of Latin America. In 1999, he wrote another book in Spanish, "Tres Decadas de Saneamiento en Latin America" as homage to the 40th anniversary of the IADB. This is his first book written in English to facilitate a better understanding to the water industry of this country (USA), about the potential to work on the Latin America market.

Patricia Ávila, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
Dr. Ávila works on Political and Social Ecological in the Ecosystems Investigation Center at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Morelia, Michoacán.

Bill Bunch, Executive Director, Save Our Springs Alliance, Austin
A native of San Antonio and Arlington, Bill left Texas to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. Bill returned to Texas to practice environmental law in Austin, first with the law firm founded by Stuart Henry, later as a sole practitioner, and then as chief counsel with the Save Our Springs Alliance. Bill was part of the group that drafted and successfully petitioned for the Save Our Springs Ordinance in 1992. Bill has been executive director since 2000.

Karl Butzer, Raymond Dickson Centennial Professor of Liberal Arts in the Department Of Geography And The Environment, University of Texas at Austin

Karl Butzer's research has focused on the relationships between the environment and prehistoric people or more recent societies. Geomorphology, sedimentology, and fossil soils offer powerful tools to reconstruct environmental and landscape change, while providing micro-stratigraphic frameworks for dating of human evolution and culture. In collaboration with a wide range of paleoanthropologists and archaeologists, he worked at both larger, regional scales and at the site-specific micro-level. He applied his empirical results to examine or model the paleoecology of the African australopithecines and Homo erectus, Neanderthal spatial behavior, and the first appearance of anatomically-modern people. His arguments that Homo sapiens sapiens was first present in South and East Africa during the Early Upper Pleistocene (135,000-65,000 years ago) are supported by the biomolecular evidence (the "Eve hypothesis").

During the second half of his career Karl Butzer turned to more recent, prehistoric and historical time ranges, in order to capture a finer-grained resolution on environment-society relations, especially when they can be informed by written records. His lifelong interest in Ancient Egypt and the skills of Elisabeth Butzer in archival research and interviewing have been key factors in facilitating this change of direction. Karl remains deeply engaged with an interdisciplinary environmental history, critical of the recent turn to a simplistic environmental determinism, and concerned about the prospects of global warming.

His choice of study areas reflects problems of particular interest, and a comparative approach to arid and strongly seasonal environments on four continents.

Gary Cook, US Project Director, Baikal Watch/Earth Island Institute
Gary Cook, director of Earth Island's Baikal Watch project, is fluent in several languages, including Russian, acquired during a childhood spent living abroad. He earned his Ph.D. in Resource Economics. Since 1990, Cook has served as director of Baikal Watch, a project envisioned by Earth Island's founder David Brower after a trip in the late 1980s to what was then the Soviet Union. A current goal for Baikal Watch is the construction of the Great Baikal Trail (GBT), which began in June 2003. When completed, this 1,000-mile path will join three national parks and reserves, connect Russia with Mongolia, and have over 100 campsites along its route.

Ben Crow, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California Santa Cruz

Ben Crow specializes in comparative sociology of development, poverty, class and gender; water, land and labor; political economy; sociology of the economy; social studies of technology; peasant studies. Among his projects are an atlas of global inequality, gender and material inequities in the Global South, and the Green Enterprise Inititative.

Laura Dunn, Founder and Executive Director of Two Birds Film, Austin
Laura Dunn holds an MFA in Film from the University of Texas at Austin. Among the films she has directed and produced are The Subtext Of A Yale Education (1999), Baby (1999—college winner in the World Population Film and Video Festival 1999), Green (2000—won the 2001 Academy Award for Best Student Documentary, Global Vision Grand Prize for World Population Film Festival; Best Documentary at the Making Waves National Student Film Festival, NYC; and the Gecko Award at Cinematexas, Austin). Dunn was recently awarded a Rockefeller Media Fellowship for Mai Mayim, a documentary that looks at the Middle East conflict from within the context of the ecological need for water in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

David Eaton, UT Austin, LBJ School of Public Policy

David J. Eaton received his Ph.D. in environmental engineering and geography from The Johns Hopkins University. Eaton teaches courses on systems analysis, environmental and energy policy, and nonprofit management in the LBJ School. He has lectured in twenty countries and conducted field research in fifteen nations.

Eaton has written on rural water supply, international water resource conflicts, energy management, environmental problems of industries, management of emergency medical services, applications of mathematical programming to resource problems, insurance, and agriculture. His research focuses on sustainable development in international river basins, evaluation of energy and water conservation programs, and prevention of pollution. Among his recent publications are the NAFTA Handbook for Water Resource Managers and Engineers, Emergency Medical Services in Travis County, Texas and The Impacts of Trade Agreements on State Provincial Laws.

Eaton's current research concerns U.S.-Mexico environmental cooperation, new methods for evaluation of air pollution emissions, joint management by Palestinians and Israelis of shared groundwater, and water conservation in Texas. The Texas Department of Insurance used research on tort reform directed by Eaton as evidence to justify rebates of over $1.3 billion for liability insurance in Texas in 1997-1999.

Tessa Farmer, UT-Austin, Department of Anthropology

Tessa Farmer is currently in her third year of the PhD program in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas in Austin. Her interests include political economy; the intersection of technology, social relationships, and water/environment; resource distribution; gender; nationalism; Middle East and North Africa. She completed an MA Report on the Amazigh nationalist movements in Morocco, and she has been conducting research on the interaction of the environment and social relationships in the Western Desert of Egypt since 2000. Her future research goals include a project on informal water distribution networks in squatter communities in Cairo, Egypt

Avi Kleinberger, Israel (Producer of Atash)

A native of Tel-Aviv, Avi Kleinberger is a graduate of Economics and Social Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and in Filmmaking Studies at The London Film School.  Over the past 25 years, Kleinberger has served as producer, writer, actor, assistant director, and production manager of numerous American and Israeli film productions—several co-produced with Palestinian film makers—including Divine Intervention (dir. Elia Suleiman, 2003), and Atash.

María Mercedes Jaramillo, Director of the City Museums Foundation, Quito, Ecuador

A long-time presence in the artistic and museum spheres of Ecuador and Andean Latin America, María Mercedes Jaramillo was brought in to use her lifetime of expertise in architecture, art, and child development to restructure the Foundation of the City Museums in Quito in order to implement twenty-first century standards of pedaodgy and museum science.  Among her accomplishments has been the design and opening of the new, state of the art Yaku Museum of Water, the newest addition to the City Museums Foundation.

Deane McKinney, Department of Civil Architecture and Environmental Engineering

Dr. McKinney's research interests include developing and applying numerical methods for simulation, optimization, and uncertainty analysis of environmental and water resource management problems, and the development of laboratory and field experimental techniques for the characterization and remediation of aquifer and groundwater contamination.

Since 1994, researchers from the Center for Research in Water Resources (CRWR) at The University of Texas at Austin have been engaged in a program of developing water resource allocation tools (optimization-based ) for use in the Aral Sea Basin of Central Asia. This research has been funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Environmental Policy and Technology (EPT) project, USAID Environmental Policies and Institutions for Central Asia (EPIC) Program, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the US National Committee on Scientific Hydrology.

Kathleen O'Reilly, Assistant Professor of Geography, Texas A&M University

Kathleen O'Reilly conducts extended ethnographic research in the areas of critical development geography and political ecology. Since 1997 she has studied development projects operating in northern Rajasthan, India. She is interested in the ways that development interventions restructure social, environmental and spatial relations in communities and implementing organizations. Her research specifically focuses on the community and women's participation components of a drinking water supply project. A National Science Foundation Grant (#0523985) supports current research on constructions of gender inside NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs) and their implications for project outcomes. She aims to contribute to understandings of how global-scale policies and plans are locally transformed and spatialized through the actions of fieldworkers working for NGOs..

James Spencer, University of Hawaii
Beyond Privatization: Urbanization and Community Efforts to Secure Clean Water in Southeast Asia

James H. Spencer, the Principal Investigator of this research project has worked in Viet Nam and the Greater Mekong Sub-region since 1990. His current research focuses on public policy related to economic development and infrastructure provision, and has appeared in Urban Affairs Review, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Policy Studies Review, and the International Development Planning Review. Bunnarith Meng is the former Deputy Director of the Department of Urban Planning at the Cambodian Ministry of Construction and Planning, and PhD candidate in urban and regional planning. Hao Nguyen is a former staff researcher at Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences‚s Institute of Sociology, and a PhD candidate in urban and regional planning. Craig Guzinsky is a Research Assistant at the Globalization Research Center and an MA candidate in urban and regional planning.

Shiney Varughese, Senior Policy Analyst, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Shiney Varghese leads the IATP's work on global water policy. The current water crisis, its impact on water and food security and possible local solutions that emphasize equity, environmental justice and sustainability concerns are her focus. In her current work she focuses on the implications of GATS/WTO, water sector liberalization, and industrial agriculture for people's access to water. Since 2001 she has been the co-chair of the UNCSD fresh water caucus, the primary civil society voice on water at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Shiney has been working with IATP since 2001.

Before moving to United States in 1998, she worked in India on social and environmental issues for over a decade with indigenous groups, civil society organizations and international groups such as Oxfam. She has presented and published works on environment, gender, and human rights. Shiney grew up on a farm in South Indian state of Kerala, and after high school moved to Gujarat. She is a graduate of Institute of Rural Management, India, and has a master's in development from the Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands. Shiney was a visiting fellow at the agrarian studies program at Yale University, New Haven in 1997-98.

The Water Conference will be webcast LIVE on March 27, 28 and 29 .

To view the webcast, you will need to download the Envivio plug-in (opens new page/tab).

Thursday, March 27

Keynote Event: "Austin's Water Wars: Underground and On the Big Screen"
5 - 6:30 PM
Bill Bunch, Executive Director, Save Our Springs Alliance
Laura Dunn, Producer/Director, The Unforeseen

Friday, March 28

Welcome 9 - 9:30 AM
Randy Diehl, Dean of Liberal Arts

Panel 1: Civilization, Culture, and Aesthetic Production 9:30 - 11:45 AM
(Chair: Bryan Roberts, Director, Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies)

Panel 2: Conflicts over Water 1:30 - 3:45 PM
(Chair: Jonathan Brown, Associate Director, Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies)

Saturday, March 29

Panel 3: Water as a Human Right 9:30 - 11:45 AM
(Chair: Thomas Garza, Director, Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies)

Panel 4: Water Management and Public Policy 1:00 - 3:30 PM
(Chair: Itty Abraham, Director, South Asia Institute)

Closing Remarks 3:30 PM
David Eaton, Bess Harris Jones Centennial Professor in Natural Resource Policy Studies, LBJ School of Public Affairs

 New Research on Sexuality in South Asia

University of Texas at Austin
May 2, 2008 – Eastwood Room, Texas Union, 2.102 (8:30-5:30)
May 3, 2008 – Meyerson Conference Room, WCH 4.118 (10-5)

This workshop will be held on the campus of the University of Texas of Austin and is co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute, Department of Asian Studies, Department of English, Department of Religious Studies, the Center for Women's and Gender Studies' LGBTQ/Sexualities Research Cluster, and the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.

For further information, please contact us.

Conference Program

MAY 1 (Thursday).

7PM: Welcome Dinner at the Woodburn House. (Participants)

MAY 2 (Friday). Texas Union Eastwood Room 2.102.

8:30 AM Welcome. Itty Abraham, South Asia Institute, Kamran Ali, Anthropology

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Session 1. Chair: Geeta Patel, Wellesley College Martha Selby, Asian Studies, UT Austin Sanjay Srivastava, Deakin University

12:00-1:30 LUNCH (for participants: Campus Club)

1:30-3:30 Session 2. Chair: Anjali Arondekar, UCSC Carla Petievich, Asian Studies, UT Austin

4:00-5:30 Session 3. Roundtable on Sexuality Research and Area Studies

MAY 3 (Saturday) Meyerson Conference Room WC Hogg 4.118

10:00-12:00 Session 4. Chair: Sandya Hewamanne, Drake University Kamran Ali, Anthropology, UT Austin

12:00-1:30 LUNCH (for all: Meyerson Lounge)

1:30-3:30 Session 5 Chair: Jeff Redding, Yale Law School Svati Shah, Wellesley College

4:00-5:30 Session 6. Roundtable

7:30 Conference Dinner at Clay Pit. (Participants) 

Participants:

Kamran Ali, UT Austin
Courtesan in the Living Room: Fantasy and the Lived Experience

Anjali Arondekar, UC Santa Cruz
Archival Attachments: Sexuality, Historiography and Colonial India

Sandya Hewamanne, Drake University
Producing Resistance: Transnational Work, Transgressive Readings and Negotiation of Desire in Sri Lanka

Geeta Patel, Wellesley College
Vernacular Risk and Sexuality

Carla Petievich, UT Austin
The Problem of the Erotic in Urdu Literature

Jeff Redding, Yale Law School
What a Queer Research Agenda for Pakistan Might Look Like

Martha Selby, UT Austin
On Wind and its Vagaries: Biomorality and the Aesthetics of Sexual Excess in Sanskrit Medical Literature

Svati Shah, Wellesley College
Sex Workers’ Organizing in India: Historical and Political Perspectives

Sanjay Srivastava, Deakin University
Moral Consumption: Among the Veg. Tacos and Baby Pizzas, Shekhar and Monica Make Silent, Unsatisfactory Love

Abstracts:

Courtesan in the Living Room: Fantasy and the Lived Experience (tentative title)
Kamran Asdar Ali

In 2003 Geo TV, Pakistan produced Umrao Jan Ada, an early twentieth century novel about North Indian courtesan life by Mirza Hadi Ruswa. Geo TVs initiative can be understood as an extension of the recent intellectual interest in courtesan life by Pakistani feminists and by liberal intellectuals. The question remains - and this may require further research- why these groups chose the fantasy life-world of the prostitute and the figure of the courtesan was chosen as metaphors to argue for sexual freedom and women's autonomy. I intend to contrast this representation with stories of lower middle class women who take sexual risks in their daily lives, yet their stories never provide the necessary model for struggle for women's freedoms. Rather, in most cases, such lives are constructed in the formulation of victim-hood and are always considered to be in need of intervention; those to be "saved" by elite groups.

In following this argument, I will focus on the biography of Sara Shagufta the poet. Her tragic suicide in the early 1980s is mostly represented as linked to her "bleak" life with multiple and abusive partners. But having multiple partners and he "sexual promiscuity" was also part of her being. Her life in intellectual circles is seldom thought of as something that can be discussed as struggle for freedoms that women engage in everyday life. Taking her case, I argue that despite the mythic courtesan, life in lower middle class homes is full of everyday victories and defeats that women face in Pakistani society, it is there that we may need to concentrate to receive stories that can serve as templates for a new politics of change and hope.

Archival Attachments: Sexuality, Historiography and Colonial India
Anjali Arondekar

Recent scholarship in South Asia and in queer studies has decisively intervened in projects of colonial historiography, decentering not just the idea of a coherent and desirable imperial archive, but also forcing us to rethink colonial methodologies and the relations between theories, methods and the historical conditions that produce them. The inclusion of divergent historical forms (pornography, visual culture, oral histories) certainly disrupts conventional understandings of the archive (and that too, for the better) but still produces a telos of knowledge production that is propelled forward by what one will find, if only one thinks of more capacious ways to look. My talk yokes the archival imperatives of South Asian studies and sexuality studies in order to read colonial records of sexuality not through a simple history of presence but rather through differentiated orders of archival logic. I propose reading practices that redirect attention from the frenzied "finding" of new queer sources to an understanding of the processes of subjectification made possible (and desirable) through the idiom of the archive.

Producing Resistance: Transnational Work, Transgressive Readings and Negotiation of Desire in Sri Lanka
Sandya Hewamanne

Since 1997 "Pleasure Publishers" has published magazines catering to young, unmarried, rural women living around Sri Lanka’s Free Trade Zone (FTZ) factories. These women factory workers live away from their native villages and enjoy reading pornographic stories published in these magazines. The publishers encourage sexually explicit material and many women workers contribute personal stories for publication. The women also consider these magazines useful in acquiring sexual knowledge and an outlet to express their own turbulent sexual lives--complicated by the clash between traditional notions of purity, virginity and honor with new realities encountered at the transnational spaces around FTZs. In 2002 several other publications, catering exclusively to FTZ workers, were launched and they promoted an opposite ideology via their stories. The protagonists resisted male advances and only got into relationships with "good, moral" men. Together they went to temples, engaged in charity and fiercely resisted sexual urges. Interviews evidenced that a personal rivalry had caused the editor at Pleasure Publishers to leave the organization and launch Divine Flower Publishers, which then sought to create a new outlook on what constituted an "ideal romance" thus crafting a sharply different identity from competitors. While multiple capitalist interests seek to shape women’s desires and resistance to dominant cultural notions, women workers negotiated these conflicting ideals in varied ways--resisting, accommodating and recreating such ideals. This paper examines how workers resist both the commodification of their desires and dominant cultural notions of pure, innocent women to shape notions of love, intimacy, sex and marriage in their own unique ways.

Vernacular Risk and Sexuality
Geeta Patel

Scholarship has constituted sexualities and political economies as distinct, reifying both in the process. Contemporary neoliberal South Asia suggests a different story. In this paper I unfold advertising that produces sexual subjects as it sells insurance, credit and debt to raise the following issues and questions: If we refuse any reified separation between capital and sexuality, then the bearers of sexuality are subjects who are not only implicated in the capital’s travels, but traversed by capital as well. What then is the place of risk in tacitly joining sexuality and capital? How are risky subjects and communities or pools of people ‘at risk’ produced by the particular ways in which neoliberal finance has erupted into people’s daily lives in India? Can we imagine new ways of thinking about the articulation of transnational capital and sexualities that do not position risk and its mitigation as the "natural" connection between the two? Are there other modes of thinking and caring for the self that can be accomplished without going through this particular form of finance capital, with its associated rhetorics of risk and investment.

The Problem of the Erotic in Urdu Literature
Carla Petievich

Urdu literature is best known around the world for its sublime love poetry; yet, paradoxically, many of those who represent this literature in our time—and for the past century—are loath to acknowledge that the love it so sublimely treats is connected in any way with actual human erotic experience, especially the sexual.

This presentation will present a series of examples from Urdu poetry in translation as well as several samples from late-19th and 20th century literary criticism to illustrate the uncomfortable relationship between Islamicate ideals of Love and anxieties about its mundane practices in modern South Asia.  Some reflections will also be offered on how gender complicates this relationship.

"What a Queer Research Agenda for Pakistan Might Look Like" (Abstract)
Jeff Redding

Among the countries of South Asia, Pakistan might appear to be the most inhospitable place to do queer research. Envisioned alternatively as austerely or explosively religious, many scholars - queer or otherwise - are deterred from exploring this complicated place. In this exploratory essay, I argue that the queer quarantine of Pakistan should stop and that there are many possible queer research projects here that would be valuable to take up. Indeed, some of these research projects would challenge the notion of "queer" itself. Others will challenge some India-specific assumptions about South Asian queerness. While there are many possible future Pakistani queer research projects, in this essay I will focus on those pertaining to 1) debates surrounding the Hudood Ordinances and their recent reform, 2) "gay" socializing and sex in urban settings, and 3) the enforcement of Section 377 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

"On Wind and its Vagaries: Biomorality and the Aesthetics of Sexual Excess in Sanskrit Medical Literature"
Martha Selby

In the trihumoral system of classical Ayurveda, vata, or "Wind," is held accountable for the greatest number of afflictions, and, if sufficiently aggravated in the body, is by far the most difficult to correct. Yet it is Wind that holds the anatomical body together and is responsible for its shape. In the eleventh chapter of the Sutra-sthana of the Caraka-samhita, Wind is described as "propelling great and small movements of the limbs, as the restrainer and guide of the mind, the coordinator of all the senses and conveyor of the senses to each and every sense object…the propeller of speech, the source of touch and sound, the root of the faculties of hearing and touching; the origin of pleasure and fortitude" (sutra 8). Because of Wind’s intimate relations with the senses, the diseases caused by it – gulma (tumors), prameha (urinary disorders), and shosha (consumption), especially – are etiologically connected with sexuality and general debauchery. In this paper, I will map out the taxonomies of such illnesses caused by Wind, and will demonstrate how this can lead us to an appreciation of how early Indian medical systems understood anatomical and behavioral "difference" between the sexes.

"Sex Workers’ Organizing in India: Historical and Political Perspectives"
Svati P. Shah

Global debates on prostitution have incl uded many different kinds of actors, including governments, feminists, health and development-related non-governmental organizations, academics, and sex workers’ advocacy groups. These debates have had profound impacts on discourses of border crossings and border controls, neoliberalism, and HIV/AIDS, as well as juridical responses to prostitution itself. As the debate has evolved, so ha s the participation of organizations from various regions. Over the past 15 years, a sex workers’ rights movement has evolved in India which has a key role in propelling extremely varied sets of policies and interventions that effect sex workers and female migrants in South Asia. In this paper, I will discuss the historical development of a sex workers’ rights movement in India, and efforts to unionize sex workers. Unionization has met with varied success, and has been one of several strategies that aim to work with sex workers’ as memberofIndia’s vast, unorganized, informal sector. I n discussing strategies for organizing that have been attempted in different sex worker communities throughout India, I will also discuss the sex wo rkers’ rights movement with the Indian Left and, ultimately, with international discourses on labor, prostitution, and governmentality. These historical developments, I argue, comprise a lens for understanding why international legal discourses ha ve increasingly aimed to address women and children through the rhetorics of protection embedded in anti-trafficking discourses. These rhetorics have constituted trafficking as co-equal with prostitution, and have largely supplanted discourses of the ‘feminization of migration’ in the Global South w ith legal injunctions to further close and regulate international borders as a strategy for protecting po or, primarily female, migrants from the imagined harms of various sex industries. This paper will aim to extend these critiques and perspectives on international debates on trafficking and prostitution by examining two recent anti-trafficking campaigns in India. The first was a localized campaign in Mumbai with national implications, involving the Maharastra State High Court decision to overturn a law banning women from dancing for tips in beer bars throughoutthestate, primarily located in the city. The second is an on-going national campaign against proposed reforms to the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA) which serves as the main legal vehicle for criminalizing prostitution in the country. A reform process that has been underway for some time has gained momentum over the past year, one which would transition the ITPA from an anti-prostitution law to an anti-trafficking l aw. The paper will discuss local organizing efforts in both of these campaigns, as well as the disc ourses of neoliberalism, international labor, human rights, and sexuality rights which both campaigns serve to elaborate.

Moral Consumption: Among the Veg. Tacos, and Baby Pizzas, Shekhar and Monica Make Silent, Unsatisfactory Love
Sanjay Srivastava

The opening up of the Indian economy has led to a renewed focus upon the body, with sexuality as the site of this other liberalization. As the economy is increasingly imagined in terms of flows of goods, foreign exchange remittances, Indians travelling abroad, Non Resident Indians (NRIs) visiting home and a globalised televisual traffic in images and ideas, the body too has become imbricated in the semiotics of passage. This paper explores these issues through focusing on ‘footpath pornography’, Hindi language ‘women magazines’, and their readers. Over the past decade or so, sexuality has become a hot topic for discussion and debate within mainstream magazines such as Grhasobha and Grhalakshmi. The discussion locates the sexual culture of these magazines in the wider context of consumption and the making of class identities. It introduces the idea of middle-class moral consumption, one that ties together popular discourses on sexuality, consumerism, and a ‘controllable’ modernity; within the interstices of the home, these magazines have created sexualized spaces that, in turn, locate their readership in other, extra-domestic spaces. The emergence of these sexualised spaces is itself linked to an implicit debate about modernity, consumption, and the contours of middle-class identity in urban India. The discussion explores the multiple meanings of ‘middle-class’ through investigating the ways in which the sexuality, consumerism, and the consuming woman, have become sites for defining a ‘truly’ Indian middle-class.

bottom border