Debotri Dhar, CEW’s Jean Campbell Visiting Scholar, Explores (Re) Writing Women and the Politics of Religion in India
Debotri Dhar, the 2015-16 CEW Jean Campbell Visiting Scholar, will be speaking at the Institute for the Humanities on November 17th at 12:30 pm. Debotri’s research interests lie in feminist theory; gender in South Asia, with an emphasis on the politics, literatures and cultures of India; transnational feminisms; interdisciplinary research methods; and critical pedagogy. The title of her talk will be Conversions: (Re) Writing Women and the Politics of Religion in India.
The politics of religion in and of the Indian subcontinent, which has also included forced religious conversions, has often undermined women’s oppositional agency even as it has produced some remarkable works of literature such as Amrita Pritam’sPinjar, Mahasweta Devi’s Draupadi, Namita Gokhale and Malashri Lal’s edited collection In Search of Sita, Anita Nair’s Mistress and others, which attempt to subvert male elite epistemologies of religion in order to reimagine women’s bodies, identities and choices. This talk will interrogate the gendered politics of religion in India, the literary imaginations it has engendered, and the gaps and overlaps between the two. Ultimately, Dhar will examine what kinds of political, literary, spiritual and ethical coalitions are possible as women struggle to embody and articulate alternative futurities in this postcolonial, globalizing present.