Feminist Legal Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 53–77

THE SEXUAL SUBALTERN IN CONVERSATIONS “SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN”: LAW AND THE OLD POLITICS OF COLONIALISM

Review article

DOI: 10.1007/s10691-006-9014-1

Cite this article as:
krishnadas, J. Feminist Legal Stud (2006) 14: 53. doi:10.1007/s10691-006-9014-1

Abstract

Ratna Kapur’s recent book entitled Erotic Justice proposes a new politics of postcolonialism whereby the sexual subaltern disrupts the normative principles of the universal, liberal, legal domain. Kapur traces legal strategies regarding censorship, sex-work, homosexuality, sexual harassment, trafficking and migration which travel a treacherous path, countering allegations of ‘unIndian’ and Western practice with cultural histories of ‘authentic’ sexual legitimacies, towards a new politics of desire. Kapur frames her analysis through postcolonial feminist theory as providing a tool for feminist struggle, yet distinct from and disruptive of a liberal project of global sisterhood. This review deeply values the role of the sexual subaltern which disrupts the tenets of a linear, progressive liberalism. Drawing upon Indian feminist and Western feminist perspectives, the review considers how the distinct position of the postcolonial sexual subaltern subject informs the generic role of law as a tool constructing relations of domination regarding gender, sexuality, caste, property and religion. Kapur observes that both the West and the Hindu Right have engaged with liberal legal principles. This engagement, I argue, exposes and informs law as a historical and contemporary tool of gendered legal colonialism, for sisters to disrupt across the Western and Eastern terrains.

Keywords

colonialismcultural relativismfeminist theoryhomosexualityhuman rightspostcolonialismsex-worksexual subalterntraffickingtransnational migrantuniversalism

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law DepartmentUniversity of KeeleKeeleUK