Centre for Studies in Gender and Sexuality
Gender and sexuality are policed, enforced, and celebrated in every society in the world. They are issues of universal import that also take on different flavours depending on their local setting. In India, the policing of gender and sexuality forms the cornerstone of many inequalities perpetrated in society. Equally, sexuality is relatively free when compared with the West, while gender seems more repressive. The Centre for Studies in Gender and Sexuality (CSGS) at Ashoka University is the first Centre in the country to study the nuances of these issues concerning both gender and sexuality. The scholarly, policy, and media approaches required for this study must be pioneered by educational institutions who focus with rigour on these inter-related issues. CSGS sees itself as fulfilling this global requirement while being fully responsive to local needs.
The Centre for Studies in Gender and Sexuality at Ashoka University was set up in August 2015 and focuses on three areas of activity: scholarly research, social outreach, and media consultation.
CSGS is developing Major and Minor programmes in Gender Studies and Sexuality Studies to be offered to students starting 2017-18. The Centre will also house research projects that are both in-house – Ashoka students and faculty – and external – post-docs and researchers from other universities and centres. CSGS will also organise and house exchange programmes for students and faculty. Our focus on research will be manifested in monthly seminars, and an international conference once in every two years.
In its efforts to act as a bridge between academic research and activism, CSGS will aim at ensuring the dissemination of research to all levels, from the grassroots to the government. The Centre will develop anti-sexist and anti-homophobic workshops that can be presented at schools, organisations, and colleges around the country. These will be designed keeping in mind the best practices in the field and will try and ensure the absence rather than the reinforcement of phobias.
Recognising the centrality of information in bringing about any social change, the Centre will focus on providing information to media outlets from around the world who want to focus on issues of gender and sexuality in India. Our activities will involve hosting seminars with media representatives, as well as workshops for them on gender sensitive media coverage. Apart from writing extensively for digital and print media, CSGS also hopes to provide archival resources for cutting-edge information on gender and sexuality.
Library – The Centre is building its own dedicated Library Resource Centre consisting of books, journals, magazines, DVDs, and other materials that are useful to the study of gender and sexuality.
Public Archive – CSGS aims to build a largely open-source online archive consisting of reading and research materials, articles and news items, activist material and a directory of organisations working on issues of gender and sexuality. This will be the first project of its kind in South Asia.
CSGS hosts a cross-disciplinary Speakers’ Series, titled ISHQ: Issues in Society, History, and Queerness, featuring eminent scholars and activists, once every month, engaging ideas about gender and sexuality across disciplines.
The Centre organises workshops throughout the year aimed at sensitisation and education
Questioning Queer Collective (Q2C): The collective organizes frequent student-led meetings that provide space for open conversations on the campus around everyday issues concerning one’s gender and sexuality
The Centre also plans to host radio shows, film screenings, and an annual Gender and Sexuality Festival called “Spectrum”
The Centre for Studies in Gender and Sexuality aims to initiate a wave of change in the world around us across the wider spectrum of gender and sexuality. With its emphasis on research combined with activism, CSGS hopes to revolutionise the narrative of gender and sexuality in India.