Feminists, and feminisms, have attained a reputation or stereotype of being humourless and killjoys.
Debolina Dutta, Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
In the wake of the devastating second wave of the pandemic in India, I taught an elective subject called ‘A Politics of Frivolity? Feminism, Law and Humour’. I offered a subject that intellectually embraced frivolity, precisely for the purpose of responding to the serious anguish and hopelessness of the pandemic. That the study of law is serious business works as (almost) a truism.
Understandably, laughter seldom goes with it. Feminists, and feminisms, have also attained a similar reputation or stereotype of being humourless and killjoys. Given this antithetical relationship that humour and laughter shared with both law and feminism, their friendship was not easily foreseeable, working to infuse their combined study with an element of surprise and incongruity.
This essay offers an account of my experience of teaching the subject during these dark times. It is a reconstruction partly from my class notes and partly from scribblings and memory. I reflect on a selected set of materials that I taught in the class, how these were received, the questions they raised and how the context enlivened the materials.
Published in: International Journal of Law in Context
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