Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Suggs, David


In studying the lives of hijras, vestidas, and travestis, anthropologists have focused excessively on agency, webs of isolated symbolic analysis, and free gender play. As a result, considerations of power are pushed to the margins, and the desperate poverty and violence in their lives is naturalized or ignored. I argue that it is only within a thorough examination of structural power that meaningful discussions of agency can be undertaken. I establish the structural conditions in which these gender liminal groups exist, and I argue that gender transgression arises from constrained operations of embodied agency. However, this exercise of agency is always negotiated within and strongly checked by symbolic and material structures of power, especially as populations are located within regimes of inequality that are at once both local and global.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 110-119)

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