ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Homophobia in the Name of Marxism

Homophobia in the Name of Marxism Sharmila Rege SEXUALITY is a relatively modern concept, emerging in 1800 and 'heterosexuality' and 'homosexuality' were not recognised as sexual categories till the end of the 19th century [Katz 1990]. It is significant to note that these terms came to be coined in 1869 by Karl Maria Kertbeny in the context of anti-sodomy legislation in Germany. Sexologists sought to distinguish between the sodomite as a 'temporary aberration' and the homosexual as a separate species, bearing a distinctive sexuality [Foucault 1979]. After Foucault's institutional deconstruction of the history of sexuality, the 19th century epistemology of perversion has become suspect. It may be underlined that ever since there has been a struggle over the meaning of homosexuality. Since heterosexuality has been assumed, its origins and vicissitudes have not been described. Definite biological assumptions have been made about heterosexuality being 'innate' or natural and thus rather than recognising the continuities and commonalities among sexualities, the entire focus has been on treating 'deviant sexualities' as problematic.

If this is Tuesday... it must be Social Roles-Sociology and Challenge of Gender Studies

'If this is Tuesday... it must be Social Roles' Sociology and Challenge of Gender Studies Sharmila Rege THE discussion that has followed Veena Dass analysis of the 'Crisis in Sociology in India' [Giri 1993, Murthy 1993, Deshpande 1994] encourages me to react and comment on the state of the art in Maharashtra. I see this comment as a step in collecting data from different regions and towards forming a base for what G B Venkatesha Murthy has called reorientation workshops [Murthy 1993]. These will have to be different from the 'refresher' courses and will have to be consciously guided towards building a community of discourse [Giri 1993], To avoid centralisation and metropolitanism in building such communities of discourse, a series of local and regional level deliberations would be necessary as a preliminary step. Such a strategy has been adopted by the all- India network of women's organisations and has led to more participatory and democratic proceedings at the national conferences. Satish Deshpande has aptly expressed our 'collective ineffectiveness' and most of us would agree with him that 'brilliance' or 'innovation' is collectively and institutionally reproduced [Deshpande 1994]. The preconditions of innovation require a further analysis of the state of our syllabi, our pedagogical practices and our responses to challenges from within and outside the academia.


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