SOAS University of London

SOAS Festival of Ideas

Colonialism, Education and Sexualities Panel - Part 2


Date: 23 October 2020Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 23 October 2020Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Panel Discussion

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What does it mean to be colonised? 'Why is my curriculum white? How do I research sexualities? What books are available to me? How can intersectionality theory inform my understanding of identity politics? What is 'white privilege'? How does 'whiteness' influence education? What is the relationship of blackness to history and education? How do researchers / educators access and build relationships across and between Global South and Global North that are non-hierarchical?

In this panel, our group of experts respond to the questions above discussing how the theme of 'Decolonising Knowledge' has impacted their disciplinary teaching, research and publishing practice reflecting on new directions for transformative change.

The Panelists include

  • Rhoda Reddock, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Jyoti Puri, Simmons College
  • Arpita Das, Yoda Press

Rhoda Reddock

Rhoda Reddock is Emerita Professor of Gender, Social Change and Development and former Deputy Campus Principal of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago. An activist in the Caribbean women’s movement for many years, she is currently an Executive Committee member of the International Sociological Association, a Board member of ISA Research Committee 05 – Racism, Nationalism, Indigeneity and Ethnicity and a former president of ISA Research Committee 32 – Women and Society. With numerous publications, including eight books, and over seventy peer-reviewed book chapters and articles, her numerous awards include - the Triennial CARICOM Award for Women 2002, a distinguished Fulbright New Century Scholars Award in 2005-2006; and an honorary doctorate from the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, 2012. Elected to the United Nations Committee on CEDAW (The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women) for the 2019-2023 term, she completed a term as DAAD visiting professor at Justus-Liebig University in Giessen, Germany (2018-2019).

Jyoti Puri

Jyoti Puri is Hazel Dick Leonard Chair and Professor of Sociology at Simmons University. Her most abiding interests relate to issues of sexuality, gender, race, nation, and state from a transnational/postcolonial feminist lens. Her previous books include, Woman, Body, Desire in Post-colonial India (Routledge 1999) and Encountering Nationalism, (Blackwell Publishers 2004). Puri’s recent book, Sexual States: Governance and the Struggle against the Antisodomy Law in India's Present (Duke University Press, 2016) received the 2018 Distinguished Book Award from the Sexualities Section of the American Sociological Association.

Along with publishing numerous articles and book chapters, Puri has co-edited special issues for Gender & Society (April 2005) and Rethinking Marxism (October 2012). Puri has served in editorial capacities for Foucault Studies and Gender & Society, and is currently on the editorial board for the journal, SIGNS. She is the recipient of fellowships and grants, including a Rockefeller Research Fellowship and a Fulbright Senior Research award. Puri is currently working on a project on death and migration for which she received a research associateship at Harvard Divinity School. She is also at work on a special issue on sociology and death for the journal Critical Sociology.

(Un)Disciplining Legacies: Sociology, Sexuality, and the Politics of Knowledge.

This presentation engages the discipline of sociology to reconsider its history and received meanings. It, too, highlights the ways that these legacies continue to shape research and pedagogy, while offering strategies for un-disciplining them.

Arpita Das

Arpita Das is the Founder-Publisher of the award-winning independent publishing house based in New Delhi, Yoda Press. She runs the Yoda Press Series of Workshops for Editors and Authors, and has been Visiting Faculty with the Creative Writing Programme at Ashoka University in New Delhi. Member of the Executive Board of the PublisHer international network (, Arpita writes on gender, book culture, popular culture and bibliotherapy for a number of periodicals and platforms. Her research article on the Jaipur Literature Festival, the Gendered Literary Field and the MeToo Movement in India was recently published in a special issue of the Memoires du Livre/Studies in Book Culture journal.

Abstract: Publishing on Sexualities has become a popular focus in South Asia over the last decade or so. LGBTQIA+ authors and writings are now part of a number of publishing lists and programmes in this part of the world. Yoda Press launched its Sexualities Series back in 2005 at the time when the movement began to find its feet in India. Many of its authors have been at the vanguard of the movement itself and the campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in India. When the historic Supreme Court Judgement finally read down Article 377 in 2018, five of Yoda Press's titles were cited in it. However, there is still much ground to be covered in terms of a truly representative corpus of writings from South Asia in this regard, and perhaps part of the problem is that while the publishing industry in India has, over the last decade, nurtured and promoted an author pool of repute, standing and diversity when it comes to queer publishing, iits own ecosystem and work culture lack diversity.


This event is part of the Virtual SOAS Festival of Ideas which will kick off a week-long series of virtual events. The festival includes: panel discussions, student led installations, masterclasses, keynote lectures, a public debate for/against on Decolonising Knowledge and a Verbatim performance by Bhuchar Boulevard on ‘Decolonising Not Just a Buzzword’ capturing SOAS conversations about the need to decolonise its imperial mission.

Keep updated on the upcoming Virtual Festival of Ideas events and watch recordings of previous events on the SOAS website. Please contact with any questions regarding this event and/or the Virtual SOAS Festival of Ideas.

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