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Neither Man Nor Woman: The Hijras of India

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  294 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
This ethnography is a cultural study of the Hijras of India, a religious community of men who dress and act like women. It focuses on how Hijras can be used in the study of gender categories and human sexual variation.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 30th 1998 by Cengage Learning (first published 1989)
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Oct 18, 2007 Alan rated it it was ok
Tender and evocative anecdotes, but the book purveys a host of subtle inaccuracies. It glosses vast lacunae of knowledge and condenses huge diversities in an attempt to appear comprehensive. That's an anthropological boo-boo. For one of the more striking examples of this, in the area I did my own research on the subject, the title of this book would be as offensive as saying: NEITHER MAN NOR WOMAN: THE TRANNY FAGS OF INDIA. (That is to say, the very name they are called by in this book, and in t ...more
Oct 28, 2013 Anastasia rated it liked it
A very light and informative read.
Explores every aspects of hijras and their roles within their community, as well as their role in the Indian community as well.
A bit contradictory at times, but definitely easy to understand.
Presents an alternative to Western ideas of gender identity.
The text is very easy to follow and the author does a good job at making sure you're aware of what is going on at any point of the book.
Allyson Goose
Dec 12, 2012 Allyson Goose rated it really liked it
It was fascinating to learn about the hijras, a group of people in India who are quite effeminate yet are mostly born with male genitalia. I learned about how they made their own family structures, how they physically altered their bodies and how they earned money. It was a bit dry at times, as academic books can be, but I found myself in awe of so much of what Nanda describes.
Feb 17, 2010 Pancha rated it liked it
Somehow I had the idea that hijras were always prostitutes, so it was interesting to find out where that assumption came from. The book also includes a final chapter about other cultures with third sexes, like Oman, various Native American tribes, Polynesia, and Thailand.
Jun 21, 2007 Whitney rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Gender studies enthusiasts, or people interested in Indian culture
I had never heard of the Hijras before I took a class in college that required me to read this book. It was really interesting to see how people with an alternative gender are treated in India in contrast to Western society.
Betsy McGee
Jun 23, 2011 Betsy McGee rated it liked it
This is a great book for people interested in Indian culture and/or gender studies. It's no fairy-tale or Bollywood romance, but a gritty and honest insight to India's third gender.
Aug 21, 2007 K. rated it liked it
Shelves: anthropology
I bought this book by accident and I'm so glad that I did. It was really interesting to learn how transgender issues are treated in a different culture.
Jul 23, 2011 S added it
Shelves: lgbt, academia
Very interesting, but some of the language used and how the author talks about Western trans people were out of date to the point of offensiveness.
Nov 06, 2009 Biz rated it liked it
Some of the writing and information is contradictory, but overall this was an interesting ethnography.
Kim Shively
Mar 11, 2013 Kim Shively rated it really liked it
Good, straightforward ethnography of hijra culture in India. Great for undergrad students
Helen Stout
Dec 26, 2013 Helen Stout rated it really liked it
I found this book to be interesting and an eye opening cultural read.
Nov 02, 2015 Andrew rated it liked it
Neither Man Nor Woman mixes a socio-anthropological look at the Hijra communities India, while sharing stories of Hijra life. For a better understanding of Hijra life, this is a good place to start.
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GWS301@Bowdoin: Neither Man Nor Woman 14 15 Feb 26, 2012 02:56PM  
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