Tag: India

Sister Mariana’s Spyglass: The Unreliable Ghost of Female Desire in a Convent Archive

In 1731, Sister Mariana de Jesus, a young nun at the Augustinian Convent of Santa Monica in Portuguese Goa, was caught using a spyglass to ogle the monks at the convent’s brother monastery across the street.[1] Under other circumstances, Sister Mariana’s spyglass might not have attracted much attention. Spyglasses were popular among the sisters of… Read more →

The Rejected Ones: Indian Foundlings in Colonial Portuguese Goa

In September of 1747, Rosa de Menezes went into labor in her home in the poorest quarter of Goa, the capital of Portuguese India.[1] Menezes, an Indian Christian widow, had fallen pregnant, in her own words, “due to the weakness of the human condition” (pela fragilidade de humana) – a euphemism for sex outside of… Read more →

Bodies in the Way: Delhi’s Dead and the Pressures of Space

In 1930, Delhi’s residents were sorely in need of a new hospital. The city’s population had ballooned by more than 30% over the previous decade, but its infrastructure had failed to keep pace.1 The overburdened Civil Hospital warned that it was struggling to provide care to twice as many patients as it was designed to… Read more →

India’s Commercialized Surrogacy: Blurring the Lines of Empowerment and Exploitation

Susheela, a woman from a small Indian village in western Uttar Pradesh, never imagined the day that she would help deliver a child for an Australian couple. After moving to a modest shanty in Delhi with her husband, Susheela was approached by a representative from a fertility clinic and presented with a newfound opportunity to… Read more →

Thalidomide—The Good and The Bad

I was listening to the BBC world news the other day and a story caught my attention. The story was about an epidemic of birth defects in Brazil, particularly in the slums of Rio de Janeiro.[1] Pregnant women had apparently been taking Thalidomide—a drug I thought had been taken off the market decades ago. Apparently it… Read more →