PhD Candidate in Anthropology
Summer Fellow 2014
My 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. I track 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, I trace 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, I examine how the Indian state, through its courts, has come to play a role in mediating such relationships of consent.