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25 Years

Double Discrimination and the Rise of “New” Dalit (“Untouchable”) Women in Modern India

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Event Location: 


Abstract: What does education mean to Dalit women and why is

it so important to them? In the context of education, and in a

situation of continuing and existing discrimination, what were/are the

distinct experiences of Dalit women? In my talk, I concentrate on

the “interlocking technologies” of gender, class, caste, family,

community, sexuality, and education that shaped and in turn were

transformed by Dalit women’s historical experiences. I focus on

how a combination of caste and patriarchy creates for Dalit

women a system of double discrimination. I

explore the nexus between caste, class, gender and state

pedagogical practices among Dalit women and analyzes the social,

economic, and historical circumstances that hindered as well as

contributed to their education. By tracking the twisted relationship

between the rhetoric and pedagogic efforts of modern education and

the production of Dalit women’s subjectivities, I illustrate that

the choices that communities make about schooling speak to much

larger questions about inclusion, exclusion, and equality within

Indian society.

Shailaja Paik is an Associate Professor of History, Faculty Affiliate, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Asian Studies and the author of Dalit Women's Education in Modern India: Double Discrimination (London and New York: Routledge, 2014 ) and several articles and essays. Her book examines the nexus between caste, class, gender, and state pedagogical practices among Dalit ("Untouchable") women in urban India.. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of a number of fields: modern South Asia, Dalit studies, gender and women's studies, social and political movements, oral history, human rights and humanitarianism.  She was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale University and Visiting Scholar at Emory University, GA, and has also taught at Union College, Schenectady, NY. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities-American Institute of Indian Studies, the Ford Foundation, Indian Council for Social Science Research, among others. Her scholarship and research interests are concerned with contributing to and furthering the dialogs in anti-colonial struggles, transnational women’s history, women-of-color feminisms, and particularly on gendering caste, and subaltern history. Her second book project focuses on popular culture in modern Maharashtra.