About the Seminar:
Who is a Dalit feminist? What does feminism, womanhood, and gender look like from the vantage point of Dalit women, that is, women who are most tyrannized by caste and sexist oppression and beaten down mentally, spiritually, and physically? What are the specific contours of feminist consciousness from the perspective of Dalit women who are not considered “women” or measure up to the benchmarks of “human”? This seminar engages these questions, to rethink and revitalize feminist theory and praxis, by centering Dalit women’s lived experiences under excess discrimination, hurt, and humiliation. Prof. Paik deploys Dalits experiences as epistemic spaces to create conceptual and theoretical frameworks to analyze the materiality of caste, class, gender, sexuality, local economy, and power relationships, both within and outside of the Dalit community. In so doing, she enables difficult but necessary dialogues across communities to work on different potentials, hopes, and futures.
About the Speaker:
Shailaja Paik is Associate Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati and the author of Dalit Women’s Education in Modern India: Double Discrimination (London and New York: Routledge, 2014). Paik’s current research is funded by the American Council of Learned Societies Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship, Stanford Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Humanities-American Institute of Indian Studies Senior Fellowship. Her scholarship and research interests are concerned with contributing to and furthering the dialogue in human rights, anti-colonial struggles, transnational women’s history, women-of-color feminisms, and particularly on gendering caste, and subaltern history.