Added: September 5, 2015 – Last updated: September 5, 2015


Author: Stacey Hynd

Title: R. v. Mrs Utam Singh

Subtitle: Race, Gender and Deviance in a Kenyan Murder Case, 1949-51

In: Subverting Empire: Deviance and Disorder in the British Colonial World

Edited by: Will Jackson and Emily Manktelow

Place: New York, NY

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Year: 2015

Pages: 226-244

Series: Cambridge Imperial & Post-Colonial Studies

ISBN-13: 9781137465870 – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | English History, Kenyan History | Cases: Offenders / Mankaran Singh; Cases: Victims / Harjit Kaur; Offenders: Fathers-in-Law; Victims: Daughters-in-Law


Link: Google Books (Limited Preview)


Author: Stacey Hynd, Department of History, University of

Abstract: »By contrast, Stacy Hynd's chapter on the trial of Harjit Kaur in post-Second World War Kenya reminds us of the many layers and levels of devianca that lie beneath one classically deviant act: murder. Even when deviance seemed self-evidently 'proven', the complexities of the case defied the state's ability to treat the crime as precisely that – as a criminal act. Deviance, we learn, cannot be spoken of only in terms of an offence against the state: deviant behaviours were embedded in various social and cultural frames. By exploring the history of the case Hynd reveals the politics of conformity and deviation within a single family and the ways in which these interacted with the broader Sikh community in twentieth century Kenya. This chapter, then, is not only about deviance itself (in this case entailing both murder and sexual abuse – and the cover up of both), but also about the ways in which deviance interacted with competing cultures of morality and their attendant social codes. As the case evolved into discussions of honour and criminal culpability, the colonial state was forced to ask how far a judiciary, itself divided by racial politics and community standards, could successfully operate at a colony level. More often than not the colonial state was confronted by its own internal contradictions. Examining those contradictions through the endeavour to police and punish deviance further highlights, in Hynd's words, 'the limits of colonial power both practically and discursively'.« (Source: Will Jackson and Emily J. Manktelow. »Introduction: Thinking with Deviance.« Subverting Empire: Deviance and Disorder in the British Colonial World. Edited by Will Jackson et al. New York 2015: 16)

Wikipedia: History of Kenya: East Africa Protectorate