exploring theory and practice

February 2-9, 2007

The Sexuality, Gender and Rights Institute is a week long residential course that focuses on a conceptual study of sexuality. It examines the links between sexuality, rights, gender, and health and their interface with socio-cultural and legal issues. Participants will critically analyze policy, research and program interventions using a rights-based approach. 


Sexuality is a complex field of study that spans multiple disciplines and areas of work. Accordingly, the course content of the Sexuality, Gender and Rights Institute will focus on a conceptual and theoretical study of sexuality drawing from different social science disciplines and the intersections between them. Faculty from the global South, Europe, and the U.S.A. will teach the course, using different pedagogical methods including classroom instruction, group work, case studies, simulation exercises, fiction and films.

The Sexuality, Gender and Rights Institute is based on the Sexuality and Rights Institute that CREA and TARSHI (Talking about Reproductive and Sexual Health Issues) have conducted for five years in India. Geetanjali Misra is co-Director of the Sexuality and Rights Institute in India. Participating faculty Alice M. Miller, JD and Carole S. Vance, Ph.D., MPH were among the convening faculty of the Sexuality and Rights Institute in India and have contributed greatly to the conception and development of both Institutes. Meena Seshu, Pramada Menon and Shohini Ghosh, Ph.D. have taught at previous Institutes in India.

Individuals working on issues of sexuality, rights, health or gender are eligible to apply. Twenty-five participants will be selected based on their application forms. Participants are required to stay for the duration of the course.

Tuition, boarding and lodging costs will be covered for all participants. Participants are expected to contribute $150 towards the course and cover their own travel expenses. The Institute is supported by the Ford Foundation and an anonymous donor.

The Sexuality, Gender and Rights Institute will be held at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York, U.S.A.. Participants will stay in double rooms. Mohonk is close to New York City and easily accessible by bus, train, and car.


Stefan Dudink, Ph.D. teaches gay and lesbian studies at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and is a research fellow of the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research. His current research focuses on the political history of sexuality and gender in the Netherlands around 1800. He has published on sexuality in political theory, on queer theory, and on the history of masculinity. Recently he co-edited Masculinities in Politics and War: Gendering Modern History (2004).

Shohini Ghosh, Ph.D. is Associate Professor, Video and Television Production at the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and is a documentary filmmaker who co-founded Mediastorm Collective, India’s first all women documentary production collective. Her work focuses on gender, sexuality, media, and representation. She directed Tales of the Nightfairies (2002) a film about sex workers’ struggle for rights in Calcutta.

Pramada Menon is a co-Founder and Director Programs of CREA. Pramada has worked in the development sector in India for over two decades as a women’s rights activist. Her work has focused on issues of sexuality and sexual rights, livelihoods, gender and development, violence against women and organizational development. She is on the Board of Directors of several non-profit organizations in India including Dastkar, TARSHI, Janani and the North East Network and is on the Advisory Council of the Global Fund for Women.

Alice M. Miller, JD is the co-Director of the Human Rights Concentration at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and currently an Assistant Professor of Clinical Public Health at the School of Public Health. Her work spans advocacy and scholarship on sexuality and rights, as well as engaging with research and activism in other areas of human rights in the US and globally, especially in work on gender, criminal justice, the intersections of rights and humanitarian policy and law, and health and rights generally.

Geetanjali Misra is a co-Founder and Executive Director of CREA. She has worked at the activist, grant making and policy levels on issues of sexuality, reproductive health, gender, human rights and violence against women. She is a co-Founder of Sakhi for South Asian women in New York, a non-profit organization committed to ending violence against women of South Asian origin. She is on the Board of Directors of Reproductive Health Matters, President of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), and recently co-edited Sexuality, Gender and Rights: Exploring Theory and Practice in South and South East Asia (2005).

Alejandra Sarda is a clinical psychologist by training with post-graduate studies in Gender and Human Rights. She has been active in the women’s, feminist, LGBT and sexual rights movements at local, regional and international levels, including as IGLHRC’s Latin American and Caribbean Program Coordinator (1999-2006). Based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she is currently developing two new projects: Mulabi – Latin American Space for Sexualities and Rights; and Translingua, a Feminist and Multigendered Translation Business.

Meena Seshu is the general secretary of SANGRAM, an organization that works to build the capacities of sex workers and people living with HIV and AIDS and enable them to assert and defend their rights. SANGRAM’s Centre for Advocacy on Stigma and Marginalisation (CASAM) advocates for the reduction of stigma, violence and harassment of marginalized communities especially those who have challenged dominant norms. In 2002, Meena was awarded the Human Rights Defender Award from Human Rights Watch in recognition of her outstanding work.

Svati P. Shah, Ph.D. is currently an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in New York University's Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. She completed her Ph.D. in Columbia University's joint anthropology and public health program. Her dissertation research focused on migration and sex work among day wage workers in the city of Mumbai. She has published in a range of scholarly and progressive journals and periodicals, including Gender and History, Cultural Dynamics, Rethinking Marxism, and SAMAR: South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection.

Carole S. Vance, Ph.D., M.P.H. founded and directs the Program for the Study of Sexuality, Gender, Health and Human Rights at Columbia University, New York, which explores ways of integrating the new scholarship on sexuality with ongoing advocacy and activism on gender, health, and human rights. She is also the Co-Director of the Summer Institute on Sexuality and Culture, University of Amsterdam. Vance has written widely about sexual theory; science, sexuality, gender, and health; and policy controversies about sexual expression and imagery. She is editing a collection on trafficking and policy and is the editor of Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality.