Over the past few decades the ugly spectre of public sexual violence has become the daily staple of news featuring the Indian subcontinent. Following the horrific beating and sexual assault of a 23 year old medical student in New Delhi in the winter of 2012, numerous reports of similar incidents in other parts of India, involving women of all ages and backgrounds, including female tourists , birthed the notion of a 'rape culture' as endemic to contemporary India. Most recently, global outcry following the sexual assault of a student of Kolkata's reputed Jadavpur University added a fresh charge to debates on rape and the persistent failure of the Indian state to protect women. In this lecture, Dr Bidisha Ray explores the anatomy of India's 'rape culture' and considers the social , historical and legal contexts within which sexual violence functions so routinely in everyday Indian life. Dr Ray will also look at changing ideas of modernity, gender roles and public engagement in India as forces that push against but also engender new forms of inequalities.
About the Speaker:
Born and raised in Calcutta, Bidisha Ray holds degrees from the universities of Delhi, Jadvapur, York, and Machester. She has spent time teaching History and Politics as well as working with the British Cabinet Office in London. She is currently working on a book-length study entitled Contesting Respectability: Sexuality, Corporeality and Popular Culture in Colonial Bengal.
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