Jyoti Puri

Professor of Sociology
  • Sociology
Jyoti Puri photograph


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About Me

Jyoti Puri is Professor of Sociology at Simmons University. She writes and teaches at the crossroads of sociology, sexuality and queer studies, and postcolonial feminist theory. Her most abiding interests relate to issues of sexuality, gender, race, nation, and state from a transnational/postcolonial feminist lens. Her new book, Sexual States: Governance and the Struggle against the Antisodomy Law in India's Present, was published by Duke University Press (February 2016). It received the Distinguished Book Award from the Sociology of Sexualities Section of the American Sociological Association in 2018.

Puri's previous books include, Woman, Body, Desire in Post-colonial India (Routledge 1999) and Encountering Nationalism, (Blackwell Publishers 2004). She has also published articles and book chapters in journals and edited volumes on sexuality and gender. She has co-edited a special issue on gender, sexuality, state, and nation for Gender & Society (April 2005) and another one on sexuality and the state for Rethinking Marxism(October 2012).

Puri served as an editor for the interdisciplinary journal Foucault Studies, as deputy editor for the journal, Gender & Society, and is currently on the editorial board for the journal, SIGNS. She has served in various capacities at the American Sociological Association, including as Chair of the Section on Sex and Gender, and Sociologists for Women in Society. She is the recipient of fellowships and grants, including a Rockefeller Research Fellowship and a Fulbright Senior Research award.

For Puri, teaching is a constant source of stimulation. She started teaching many years ago, first as an international graduate student and then as a part-time instructor at Northeastern University and Boston College. At Simmons, she has taught required and elective sociology courses as well as a range of courses outside of the department geared toward graduate students and undergraduate students—honors program, general education requirement, international relations and women's studies majors, among others.

What I Teach

  • Principles of Sociology
  • Transnational Studies
  • Body Politics
  • South Asia: People and Power
  • Bodies in Action

At the Graduate Level:

  • Queer/Transnational
  • Sexuality, States, Governance

Research/Creative Activities

Puri is currently working on a project that explores questions of death among the South Asian diaspora in North America from the early twentieth century to the present. Focusing on funerary practices, including cremations and burials, she is unearthing histories of state governance, racism, and exclusion as well as the making of communities and the struggle to belong.