06 January 2009

First Day of Classes

Classes at NLU, like Regent, began on Monday, January 5. A brief message to the assembled students by the Vice-Chancellor, encouraging and challenging. Then off to Contracts where I will be teaching with Professor Amar Singh. Dr. Singh is explicitly Marxist in his approach to history and the relationship of law to society; he did his post-doc work at the Academy of Science in Moscow back in the days of the USSR. Dr. Singh opened with a lecture on the place of contract in society. I was to give mine today but I have been importuned to attend a lecture by a Brit on “gender in film” or some such. Where’s Sam Menefee when you need him? It might be interesting.

Speaking of gender (or, better, sex, to avoid any implication that “gender roles” are purely social constructs), the use of sonograms and selective abortions of girls has caused the male: female birth rate in India to decline to 1000: 981. In some Indian States the female birthrate has fallen to below 900 per 1000 males. This phenomenon has caused alarm for obvious demographic reasons but and also, I’m thankful to report, moral grounds among the devoutly Hindu members of the faculty with whom I’ve spoken about this issue. This translates into a strong and eminently appropriate feminism by many Indian academics. The official responses have been educational and legal: restrictions on the use of sonograms have been imposed. However, it seems that for some extra rupees an illegal sonogram can be obtained without undue difficulty.

I hope to explore this pressing issue of fundamental human rights during the course of my visit and report my findings at a later date.

No comments:

Post a Comment