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Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Rama Srivivasan — Between Kinship and Courts: Legal Tales of Love Marriages in North India

Thursday, March 9, 2017

4 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Room B9, Churchill House, 155 Angell Street

Rama Srinivasan is a PhD candidate in Anthropology. Srinivasan's dissertation Courting Desire: Litigating for Love in Post-Agrarian North India explores the organically evolving definitions of sexual consent and the potential for social change within legal and state spaces in North India. She tracks the trend of elopements and choice-based marriages – that stand in opposition to family-arranged matches – in the North Indian state of Haryana to explore this issue. Through ethnographic narratives, Srinivasan traces the emergence of a new form of civil union called ‘court marriage’, which encompasses ideas of both a normative, ‘respectable’ union reserved for marriages based on kinship rules, and non-normative, choice-based ones popularly known as ‘love marriages’. In particular, she examines how the Indian state, through its courts, has come to play a role in mediating such relationships of consent. 

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Center for Contemporary South Asia