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Gulabi Gang

Indian suffragettes in the Women's Coronation Procession, London, 1911. Museum of London/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Indian suffragettes in the Women's Coronation Procession, London, 1911. Museum of London/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Events - Talks

The Study Sessions: Still I Rise

Freedom and Feminism: Perspectives from India

04 Dec 2018

6.30-8.30pm
 
The Study Sessions are a series of informal reading and discussion groups. Join discussions and read about transnational feminism, gender representation in the media, transgressing stereotypes, queer theory and more.
See other sessions here>>
 
 
Freedom and Feminism: Perspectives from India.
By Uditi Sen
 
In India, the question of women’s liberation has historically been intertwined with the question of liberation from colonial rule. This was partly the result of the harsh realities of colonial subjugation, and partly the result of British imperial ideology. Since James Mill wrote in his History of India (1817) that the condition of women in a society is an index of that society's place in civilization, British imperialists have explicitly justified colonial rule in India by using the condition of women as proof of the inability of Indians to rule themselves. Aptly summarised by postcolonial theorist and scholar Spivak as ‘white men saving brown women from brown men’, this dynamic of western saviourism has had a two-fold impact on Indian women. On one hand, it made projects to reform women’s lives and improve the status of women a central theme of Indian nationalist movement. On the other hand, it has rendered Indian feminists vulnerable to allegations of betrayal of the nationalist cause whenever they critique oppressive cultural and religious practices in India. 
 
In this study session, we will explore, through the lives and words of Indian women, how they have negotiated this double-bind of nationalism and imperialism. In the contemporary period, this takes the form of allegations of ‘Westernisation’, usually mobilised by nationalists and patriarchs, to argue that feminist aspirations are somehow ‘inauthentic’, or alien imports into Indian culture and society. We will also explore how Indian feminists in the diaspora have refused this false opposition between feminist liberation and cultural belonging. 
 
 
*Please note this session is now fully booked. If you'd like to be added to a waiting list please email Mercè at merce@nottinghamcontemporary.org
 
 
FULLY BOOKED
Gallery 4
 
 
Uditi Sen is a historian of colonial and post-colonial India. She holds a DPhil in History from the University of Cambridge and has taught History and South Asian studies in various institutions, including the European University Institute in Italy and the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2018, she joined the University of Nottingham as Assistant Director of Liberal Arts. 
Uditi uses oral history, a feminist analytical lens and postcolonial theory to illuminate the lives and experiences of marginalised groups. Her publications include articles on refugee memory and identity, policies of rehabilitation, post-colonial development in India and a book entitled Citizen Refugee: Forging the Indian Nation after Partition. Her current research project explores the myriad roles played by women - as volunteers, organisers, bureaucrats, politicians, writers and citizens - in shaping the emerging ideologies and structures of independent India.

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