This week I managed to get to the IHR Life-Cycles seminar (which was rather distressingly thinly attended, I wonder why this was?), Ishita Pande, (Queen’s University, Ontario) talking on 'Sorting Boys and Men: Unlawful Intercourse, Boy Protection and the Child Marriage Restraint Act in Late Colonial India', with particular reference to the 1929 Act passed by the Legislative Assembly brought into being ten years earlier by the Government of India Act (and thus not simply a top-down imperialist measure). Whereas the earlier debates on and legislation to do with child marriage had been about the protection of girls and women (and the child-widow problem) this act incorporated the concept of boys as also in need of protection. While Pande indicated that the act was relatively ineffective (because of the importance of child-marriage within the broader joint family system) with fairly few cases brought under it, and these tending to deploy it for other agendas, she suggested that it reflected a shift from concerns specifically to do with the protection of women to the idea of children and childhood in general as a protected zone.
On Friday I managed, for the first time in rather a long while (since these usually take place on working afternoons), to get to the Critical Sexology seminar at Queen Mary University of London, on Sex and Pedagogy. This included three fascinating presentations on the theme, ranging from the use of erotica to convey advice and safer sex messages, via pedagogical techniques for providing safe spaces for sex positive sex education to young people, to teaching sexually-charged material in the university classroom. (Live-tweeted). This was a thought-provoking afternoon which generated many thoughts and questions, and there was much lively and provocative discussion.