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GENDER TALKS: Ratna KAPUR (Delhi/Geneva/Harvard): Gender and Human Rights – A postcolonial critical reflection (28.06.2016, 6.30 p.m.)

Jointly organised with the Institute of Legal Philosophy and the Research Platform Gender and Agency

Professorin Ratna Kapur am 28.06.2016 an der Universität Wien

Date: Tue, June 28, 2016, 6.30 p.m.

Venue: University of Vienna, Juridicum (Top floor), Schottenbastei 10, 1010 Wien

In this talk, Ratna Kapur looks at the legal responses to the horrific ‘Delhi rape’ case that received global attention in 2012 to trace how an appalling episode of violence against a woman came to be articulated within stable categories of gender and invited state intervention in the form of criminal justice, stringent sentencing and a strengthened sexual security regime.

Using a postcolonial feminist analysis, Ratna Kapur argues that the stability of gender categories has been integral to (Western) human rights interventions and has been maintained partly through an overwhelming focus on sexual violence against women by states as well as non-state actors, including a specific form of carceral feminism.

Kapur will discuss the ways in which gender has been pursued in women's rights advocacy and human rights interventions and in the process facilitated the rise of a sexual security regime. She also examines how gender is used in women's rights advocacy in postcolonial market economies in ways that have not necessarily been emancipating and begs the question: can gender in the context of human rights advocacy ever be a force for transformation and radical change?

There will be a small reception after the lecture.

Registration required

Please note that registration is required for the Workshop/Masterclass as well as for the evening lecture until June 24th: rrk@univie.ac.at.


There is an opportunity for an in-depth discussion with Ratna Kapur on June 28, 10-12:30 at Juridicum (top floor). Participants are required to read 1-2 papers by Ratna Kapur and prepare at least one question for the workshop. The papers will be made available after registration: rrk@univie.ac.at

Biographical Notes

Ratna Kapur (LL.M) is Global Professor of Law at Jindal Global Law School, Sonepat, (NCR-Delhi), Faculty Member at Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations and Faculty Member at Harvard International Global Law and Policy Institute. From 2007 to 2008, she was the Senior Gender Advisor with the United Nations Mission in Nepal during the transition period. Kapur practiced law for a number of years in New Delhi, and now teaches and publishes extensively on issues of international law, human rights, feminist legal theory and postcolonial theory.

Monographs: Makeshift Migrants and Law: Gender, Belonging and Postcolonial Anxieties (Routledge 2010); Erotic Justice: Law and the New Politics of Postcolonialism (Glasshouse Press, Cavendish Publishers, 2005); Secularism’s Last Sigh? (co-authored, Oxford University Press, 2001); Subversive Sites: Feminist Engagements with Law in India (co-authored Sage, 1996).


Univ.-Prof.in Dr.in Elisabeth Holzleithner (Legal Philosophy and Legal Gender Studies, University of Vienna), Dr.in Sushila Mesquita (Gender Research Office at the University of Vienna) with the support of the Research Platform Gender and Agency at the University of Vienna.




T: +43-1-4277-18452

Referat Genderforschung
Campus d. Universität Wien
Spitalgasse 2-4 / Hof 1.11
1090 Wien

Öffnungszeiten der
DI 15-17 Uhr
Do 12-14 Uhr

Termine außerhalb der Öffnungszeiten sind nach Vereinbarung möglich.

DI 14-17 Uhr
DO 13-16 Uhr

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