Third-ness in Gender: Examining the contemporary making of Third-Gender category in local/vernacular contexts

deadline for submissions: 
April 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
19th IUAES-WAU World Anthropology Congress 2023

Short Abstract:

The multiplicity of gender has been a feature of many cultures throughout history, but its meaning and application have varied widely. The panel examines the coloniality/neo-coloniality, and the charges thereof, of the "third-gender" category by tracing its development across a variety of local contexts and times. We invite papers that examine how local formulations of gender intersect with, transform, and assimilate third-ness as an intelligible form of gender.


Long Abstract:

The concepts of third-, fourth-, non-, and other-genders have existed in many cultures throughout history. Even though their meanings and applications varied from one context to another, all of them have been marginalized and modified through the modern era with the rise of modern sciences reifying the binary system of gender located within sexual dimorphism, and the modern state codifying marriage. The panel explores the development of the third-gender category across different contexts. It examines how local formulations of gender intersect with, transform, and assimilate third-ness as an intelligible form of gender.


How do non-binary individuals derive their subjectivities from their third-gender identities; how do these tactics differ across urban/rural contexts, and how do they simultaneously locate themselves and their gendered subjectivities within the local vernacular grammar of socio-economic relations? What are the historical processes through which gender gets embedded within their respective socio-economic circumstances? What is the nexus between knowledge production, the state, and social actors in these processes, and what bearings does it have on the formation of individual subjectivities? 


The panel examines these cases by combining historical and contemporary approaches grounded in historical and contemporary ethnographic research. Through them, we hope to entangle similarities and differences with contemporary LGBTIQ+ politics and activism and see how colonialism and neo-colonialism have influenced the understanding and use of gender diversity. We invite contributors with ethnographically grounded papers focusing on a single regional/national/local context globally to join the discussion.


We kindly ask interested participants to apply online by 30 April 2023 at


For further inquiries regarding the panel, please feel free to contact Mišo Kapetanović ( and/or Arpita Phukan Biswas (