UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

In translation/transition : what happens when hijra and/or khawaja sara meets transgender? Khan, Mohammad Zakriya


South Asia is currently seeing a rise in the usage and deployment of the term and concept of transgender to describe hijra and khawaja sara communities in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. This situation leads to numerous points of inquiry and discussion that allow for explorations of local-transnational knowledge flows, dissemination of terms and concepts from one are to another and vice versa, the relationship between the local and the global, and the benefits and problems of using transgender to describe various other gender groups in the world. This thesis examines both the benefits and drawbacks of using transgender in South Asia as a term to describe hijra and khawaja sara. It also looks at contemporary events and configurations of meaning making in the context of colonialism, imperialism, and post-colonialism. It examines historical documents, news articles, scholarly works, and popular media. It also asks whether any one term or concept can adequately address the situation at hand. This thesis finds that while transgender does work to some extant, it also exposes many gaps and fissures that serve as useful entry points to examine the situation in a more nuanced fashion. By looking at race, sexuality, sex, and gender as entangled within one another, rather than as entirely separable constructs, this thesis finds that while no one term or concept is a direct translation, a better question is instead to ask what can be done to adequately address (trans) gender configurations in an increasingly global context. It finishes with inquiries into the concept of translation itself, and finds that translation per se is not what is best to theorize around, but rather metaphors of knowledge that allow for the entangled realities this thesis describes to be taken into account are a more effective approach. This thesis then proposes a series of linguistic metaphors to serve as a tool and starting point to allow for further inquiries to enable discussions of local and global transgender studies beyond merely translation.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International