Jyoti Puri

Professor and Hazel Dick Leonard Chair

About Me

Jyoti Puri is Hazel Dick Leonard Chair and Professor of Sociology at Simmons University. She writes and teaches at the crossroads of sociology, sexuality studies, death studies, and postcolonial feminist theory. Her interests include sexuality, gender, race, nation, state, death, and religion.

Puri has received a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2022-2023 for her current project on death and migration. In 2021, she was honored by the Jessie Bernard Award from the American Sociological Association. In 2019-2020, she was a Research Associate at the Women’s Studies Program in Religion at Harvard Divinity School. She previously received a Rockefeller Research Fellowship and a Fulbright Senior Research award.

Puri's book, Sexual States: Governance and the Struggle against the Antisodomy Law in India's Present, was published by Duke University Press (2016). It received the Distinguished Book Award from the Sociology of Sexualities Section of the American Sociological Association in 2018. Her previous books include, Woman, Body, Desire in Post-colonial India (Routledge 1999) and Encountering Nationalism, (Blackwell Publishers 2004).

She is co-editing a special issue on "Feminist Mournings" (with Kimberly Juanita Brown) for the journal, Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism (forthcoming November 2022). Puri has published numerous articles and book chapters and 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 on the editorial collective 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.

For Puri, teaching is a constant source of stimulation. She started teaching many years ago, first as an international graduate student. 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—Gender and Cultural Studies Program, 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.



Sexual States: Governance and the Struggle over the Antisodomy Law in India. Duke University Press, 2016
Received the 2018 Distinguished Book Award from the Sociology of Sexualities Section of the American Sociological Association

Encountering Nationalism. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2004

Woman, Body, Desire in Post-colonial India: Narratives of Gender and Sexuality. New York: Routledge, 1999

Special Issues for Journals

Sexuality Between State and Class. Special Issue of Rethinking Marxism. Edited by Suzanne Bergeron and Jyoti Puri. October 2012

Gender-Sexuality-State-Nation: Transnational Feminist Approaches. Special Issue of Gender & Society, April 2005. Edited by Jyoti Puri, Hyun Sook Kim and Paola Bacchetta

Publications in Scholarly Books and Journals

"Colorblind Feminisms: Ansari-Grace and the Limits of #MeToo Counterpublics" coauthored with Vrushali Patil. SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, forthcoming.

"Sculpting the Saffron Body: Yoga, Hindutva, and the International Marketplace" in A. Chatterji, T. B. Hansen, (eds.) Majoritarian State: How Hindu Nationalism is Changing India, C. Hurst and Co (Publishers) Ltd., 2019

"Postcolonial Sexualities" co-authored with Vrushali Patil, Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies: Companion to Sexuality Studies, edited by Nancy Naples, Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming.

"Sexualizing Neoliberalism: Identifying Technologies of Privatization, Cleansing, and Scarcity." Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC, 13:308, 2016

"Postcolonial Feminisms and Introducing Sociology in the Imperium." Radical Teacher, v. 101 (2015) 63-71

"States’ Sexualities" in SAGE Handbook of Feminist Theory, edited by Mary Evans et al. Sage Publications, 2014

"Decriminalisation as Deregulation? Logics of Sodomy Law and the State" in S. Srivastava (ed.) Sexualities Reader, Oxford University Press, 2012

"Sexuality between State and Class: An Introduction" Rethinking Marxism, special issue, co-authored with Suzanne Bergeron, Volume 24, no. 4, 2012

"Sexualizing the State: Sodomy, Civil Liberties, and the Indian Penal Code" in A. Chatterji and L. Chowdhury (eds.) Contesting Nation: Gendered Violence in South Asia. Notes on the Post Colonial Present, Zubaan Books, 2012

"Forging Hetero-Collectives: Obscenity Law in India" in L. Glass and C. Williams (eds.) Obscenity and the Limits of Liberalism, Ohio State University Press, 2011

"GenderQueer Perspectives: Sameness and Difference in Sections 375/6 and 377 of the Indian Penal Code" in Law Like Love, Yoda Press, 2011

"Hometown: City in Postnational Landscape", co-authored with Professor Kazi K. Ashraf. Economic and Political Weekly, October 8, xlv, 41, 2010

"Transgendering Development" in A. Lind (ed.) Development, Sexual Rights and Global Governance, Routledge, 2010

"Gay sexualities and Complicities: Rethinking the ‘Global Gay.’" In K. Ferguson and M. Mironesco (eds.), Gender and globalization in Asia and the Pacific. University of Hawai’i Press, 2008

"Stakes and States: Sexual Discourses from New Delhi" in Feminist Review, Special Issue on Sexual Moralities, Volume 83, issue 1. August 2006

"Sexual Significance of State and Nation" in S. Seidman, N. Fischer, Chet Meeks (eds.) Sex and Society: Introducing the Sociology of Sexualities. Routledge, 2006

"Conceptualizing Gender-Sexuality-State-Nation: An Introduction" Gender & Society, special issue on Transnational Feminist Analyses, co-authored with Hyun Sook Kim, Volume 19, no. 5: 137-159

"Nationalism has a lot to do with it: Unraveling questions of nationalism and transnationalism in lesbian and gay studies." In S. Seidman and D. Richardson (eds.), Handbook on Lesbian and Gay Studies, London: Paul Chapman, 2002

"Concerning Kamasutras: Challenging narratives of history and sexuality" SIGNS: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Volume 27, no. 3. Spring 2002

"Reading Romances in Postcolonial India." Gender & Society. Volume 4: 434-452. August, 1997