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Department of the Study of Religions

Ms Jennifer Loh


Jennifer Loh
Ms Jennifer Loh
Email address:
Thesis title:
Exploring the Construction of 'Political' Identity Among the Kinnars of Madhya Pradesh, India. 
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

My PhD thesis explores contemporary Hijra identity in the state of Madhya Pradesh.  The term ‘Hijra’ covers a variety of physiological and anatomical identities, including transgender, transsexual, and intersex individuals, and MSMs (males who have sex with males).  Several Kinnars (the preferred term for ‘Hijra’ in Madhya Pradesh) have been successfully elected to political office in the last thirteen years, and my project aims to explore how participation in this sphere has had an impact on community and individual identity.      

PhD Publications

  • (Forthcoming) Ung Loh, J. (2013) ‘Relations That Give Us the Strength to Live’: Community Structure and Kinship Organisation among the Kinnars of Madhya Pradesh, India. Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, Issue 32.
  • Ung Loh, J. (2011) ‘Borrowing’ Religious Identifications: A Study of Religious Practices among the Hijras of India.  Polyvocia, SOAS Journal of Graduate Research, Vol. 3 (Spring 2011). http://www.soas.ac.uk/research/rsp/rss/journalofgraduateresearch/edition-3/file67223.pdf.

PhD Conferences

  • (Forthcoming) '"Why Choose a Fake Hijra When a Real One Is Available?" The Construction of Kinnar Identity though Political Rhetoric’ (2013).  Paper to be presented at 'Border Crossings: New Directions for the Study of Gender at SOAS’, Centre for Gender Studies Workshop, SOAS, May 2013.
  • 'Amalgamating Traditions: Religious Practice Among the Hijras of Madhya Pradesh’ (2012).  Presentation at the Department of the Study of Religions PhD Seminar, SOAS, December 2012.
  • 'Spiritual Practices Among the Hijras of India: Amalgamating Traditions’ (2012).  Paper presented at the American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois, November 2012.
  • The Hijras of India: an Archetypal "Third Sex"?’  Paper presented at ROLES, Gender and Sexuality Colloquium, University of Birmingham, May 2012.
  • 'Exploring the Construction of Political Identity Among the Hijras of Madhya Pradesh, India’.  
  • Presentation at Department of the Study of Religions PhD Seminar, SOAS, January 2012.
  • 'Representing a Goddess: the Myths of Bahuchara Mata and the Hijra Community in India’.  Paper presented at 'Shorelines and Shadows’ Conference, University of Reading, November 2011.