This ethnography is a cultural study of the Hijras of India, a religious community of men who dress and act like women. It focuses on how Hijras can be used in the study of gender categories and human sexual variation.
Serena Nanda is professor emeritus of anthropology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. Her most recent book is THE GIFT OF THE BRIDE: A TALE OF ANTHROPOLOGY, MATRIMONY, AND MURDER, a novel set in an Indian immigrant community in New York City. Her other published works include NEITHER MAN NOR WOMAN: THE HIJRAS OF INDIA, winner of the 1990 Ruth Benedict Prize; AMERICAN CULTURAL PLURALISM AND LAW; GENDER DIVERSITY: CROSS-CULTURAL VARIATIONS; and a New York City guidebook, NEW YORK MORE THAN EVER: 40 PERFECT DAYS IN AND AROUND THE CITY. She has always been captivated by the stories people tell and by the tapestry of human diversity. Anthropology was the perfect way for her to immerse herself in these passions, and through teaching, to spread the word about the importance of understanding both human differences and human similarities.
1. Hijra Roles in Indian Society. 2. Hijras as Neither Man nor Woman. 3. Emasculation Ritual Among the Hijras. 4. Social Organization and Economic Adaptation. 5. Kamladevi: A Prostitute. 6. Meera: A New Guru. 7. Sushila: Achieving Respect. 8. Salima: An Outcast. 9. Hijra Lives on Context. 10. The Hijra in Cross-Cultural Perspective.