KOÇ-KAM hosts: Talk on "Feminist Issues and Discourses: Lessons for Feminism from the Indian Context"

Author: KOÇ-KAM

Koc University Gender Studies Center Talk by Smita Tewari Jassal

"Feminist Issues and Discourses: Lessons for Feminism from the Indian Context"


Date: 07 May 2015

Time: 16:00-18:00

Venue: Student Council Senate

            (Student Center, 1st Floor)

In this presentation Jassal attempts to trace the trajectory of feminist thought in the Indian context. Jassal's aim will be identify the concerns that brought women's issues to the forefront of public debates in India and how the category "woman" emerged as the focus of discourses as diverse as social reform, development, and rights. Since the women's question was variously articulated in the distinct colonial, national and post-national eras, Jassal's aim will be to briefly outline the characteristic features of these defining contexts. The Indian case is instructive as it allows us to see how feminist concepts are intelligible when rooted in their specific social and historical contexts. In today's post-national era, as women's studies centers have proliferated in universities, Indian Dalit feminist activists are also challenging the middle class women's movement on grounds that it does not represent their interests. If therefore, feminism cannot claim to speak on behalf of the interests of all Indian womanhood, how might we best problematize the subject of feminism?

The presentation will comment on ways in which the concepts as they have evolved in the Indian context may serve to illuminate processes in Turkey -  both in terms of parallels and departures


About the speaker


Smita Tewari Jassal is associate professor of Anthropology in the Department of Sociology, and Graduate School of Social Sciences, METU, Ankara, since 2010 and research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi. She was the Madeleine Haas Visiting Professor of Anthropology, Brandeis University in 2008-2009 and taught at Columbia University and SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. She was Visiting Fellow at the Truman Institute for Peace, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, between 2003-2004.

She teaches theories of anthropology, culture, and courses on India. Her research interests include marginality, gender, religion, rural transformations, caste, Partition and cultural production. Besides journal articles and book chapters, she has authored Unearthing Gender (2012, Duke UP), Daughters of the Earth: Women and Land in Uttar Pradesh (2001, Manohar) and co-edited The Partition Motif in Contemporary Conflicts (2006, Sage).  She is currently working on a manuscript on religiosity in contemporary Turkey, and co-editing a volume of multi-disciplinary conversations between India and Turkey.