Feminist Explorations of Contemporary South Asia: Possibilities and Challenges
This lecture will focus on feminist politics in South Asia. The nation-state has been a very important and transformative player in the politics here. And yet, nationalist ideologies sometimes inhibit the possibilities of feminists working across national boundaries. The intractable linkage between nationalism, state and gender in this region is easily one of the most vital themes of feminist inquiry.
South Asia has, on the one hand, produced important women politicians and heads of states, while also being witness to some very brutal and harsh attacks on women based on caste, ethnicity, language and religion. Resistance to such assault and attack by women is slowly but surely changing the way women see themselves, no longer as hapless victims but as agents of change and empowerment. Further, the increasing role of religion in political mobilizations in South Asia cannot be ignored.
A simple binary of religion versus secular seems to be unproductive in unravelling the complexity of the issues on hand. The differing impact of globalization and changes in the economy has created new opportunities and challenges to feminist politics in South Asia. These changes have also resulted in new ways of mobilizing and organizing feminist solidarities.
The current context is characterized by globalization, patriarchy and militarism. The ‘war on terror’ has led to governments and international bodies working in tandem, even at the cost of limiting and violating democratic traditions and conventions. This constitutes one of the most serious challenges to the building of South Asian feminist politics and at the same time makes it necessary to create feminist networks across borders. Violence, especially political violence against dissenting citizens and against women continues to be a matter of grave concern that requires South Asian feminist politics to attend to.
About the Speaker
Krishna Menon is Professor and Dean at the School of Human Studies, Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD). Prior to joining AUD she taught at the Department of Political Science at Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi for over two decades where she was the Director of the Aung San Suu Kyi Centre for Peace. She received the Teacher of Distinction award from the Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi in 2009.
She has published books, papers and articles on debates within political theory, issues in Indian politics, and feminist theory and politics. Her publications include Resisting violence-Annotated Bibliography and Documents on Initiatives to Challenge Violence Against Women (2017) contributions to Sentiment, Politics, Censorship- The State of Hurt (2016), Women and Empowerment in Contemporary India (2016), Women and Political Process(2015), and Women’s Studies in India (2014), Applied Ethics and Human Rights (2010), Human Rights, Gender and Environment(2009), Political Theory: An Introduction (2008) and a co- authored research monograph titled Gender and Identity: A Case Study of Nurses from Kerala in Delhi (2008), among many others.
She is currently Associate Editor, International Feminist Journal of Politics. She has been nominated as a member of a Study-Group constituted by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to study and analyze issues relating to violence against women in public places of Delhi. She has a long record of performing Bharata Natyam in addition to having been trained in classical music. She was the classical dance critic of The Indian Express (1993-1996).
- Krishna Menon, Ambedkar University, Delhi