History major J. Y. Chua won the Law and Society Association award for the undergraduate paper that best represents outstanding work in law and society research.
The Strange Career of Gross Indecency: Racial Anxiety and Sexual Politics in Pre-World War II Singapore
The winner of the undergraduate paper competition was Jun Yan Chua, for his paper “The Strange Career of Gross Indecency: Racial Anxiety and Sexual Politics in Pre-World War II Singapore.” This paper, nominated by Professor Rohit De, analyzes the criminal charge of gross indecency in Singapore in the early 20th century. Yan analyzed both English- and Chinese-language archival records to discover racialized strategies deployed by prosecutors and defense attorneys, demonstrating that the prohibition of gross indecency was founded on concerns over inter-racial intercourse. This intriguing paper challenges current concepts of homophobia in English and Chinese societies and fills a void in research on the criminalization of gross indecency.
J.Y. Chua is a history major in Yale College. His academic interests lie in the intersection of law and social regulation in the former British Empire. Outside the classroom, he enjoys reading, running, and watching re-runs of legal procedurals and political drams.