Teaching/Writing Resistance: Women’s Studies in Contemporary Times
Panchali Ray and Shadab Bano
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

Women’s studies in India occupies a special place in history. Emerging with a radical women’s movement in the 1970s that was committed to social, economic, and sexual justice and premised on a discourse of emancipation, the newly-founded ‘women’s studies centres’ challenged received wisdom about social norms and structures. They introduced a new interdisciplinary focus based on social identity, sparking important transformations in the academy and in public discourse. However, the position of women’s studies within higher education is becoming increasingly precarious. 

Teaching/Writing Resistance brings together a diverse set of essays around women’s studies as a formal discipline, and raises important questions: What are its achievements, and equally, what are its historical blind spots and faultlines? Has women’s studies emerged as a critical space within the academy—as its pioneers envisioned—or does it remain limited by institutional bias and social inequality?

Drawing on the perspectives of stalwarts of women’s movements who fought to establish the discipline and younger scholars who now address critical debates in the field, the chapters explore a variety of themes: pedagogical practices; the relation between knowledge production and university structures; the role of social, regional, religious, and caste locations in the way women’s studies is perceived and transacted; and for the first time, the crucial relation between feminist scholarship and State and institutional power, both in India and internationally.

Insightful and incisive, this book will interest students of women’s and gender studies, feminist practitioners, educators, NGOs, and the general reader.

Panchali Ray is Associate Professor in Anthropology and Gender Studies and Associate Dean (Academics) at Krea University.

Shadab Bano is Professor of History at Aligarh Muslim University.

List of Abbreviations   vii

Teaching/Writing Resistance: An Introduction   1

PART 1 | Disciplining Gender/Gendering Disciplines: Reflections on Possibilities
1. Unfolding the Story of Women’s Studies in India: Understanding and Learning from Difference   19
Devaki Jain

2. Women’s Studies and the Caste Question: Revisiting Social Reform and the Making of Indian Culture   33
Mary E. John

PART 2 | Women’s Studies and its Institutionalisation
3. Teaching Resistance and Critique: Some Reflections on Women’s Studies in an Interdisciplinary Institution   53
U. Vindhya

4. Interdisciplinarity and Women’s Studies Degrees: Some Questions    70
Arpita Anand

5. In Defence of Indiscipline: Disciplining and Decentring Women’s Studies in Non-metropolitan Tamil Nadu   95
Nithila Kanagasabai

PART 3 | Ruptures or Repetitions?
6. Westerning Feminist Futures: Women’s and Gender Studies in the Age of Terror   117
Sunera Thobani

7. Women’s Studies is Dead! Long Live Women’s Studies!   145
Panchali Ray

8. The Future of Women’s Studies, or Women’s Studies ‘to Come’   164
Rajlaxmi Ghosh

Note on the Contributors   178

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