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404: Culture, Reform and Women

Credits: 2

This course will seek to take a closer look at many of the debates on culture starting from the nineteenth century and investigate the relationship between the idea of social reform, and contemporary notions of culture and gender. Why have social reformers always invoked culture while attempting social transformation? What are the conceptual presuppositions of the discourse of reform that get articulated as cultural and gender questions? By keeping the 'women's question' as a common factor, the course will analyse various debates around culture and reform, not just in the nineteenth century social reform movement but also in our contemporary society.

Reading List:
Session 1:
Introduction: Okin, "Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?", Azizah Y al-Habiri, "Is Western Patriarchal Feminism Good for Third World/Minority Women?"

Reforming Cultures:
Session 2
J.S. Mill. "The Subjection of Women", Chapter 3. In On Liberty and Other Writings. Ed. Stefan Collini. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Chapter XII

Session 3:
Amiya P.Sen, ed. Social and Religious Reform: The Hindus of British India, pp. 3-46. Rajaram Mohan Roy, Bentinck Lata Mani, "Contentious Traditions"

Session 4:
Ramabai, " The High Caste Hindu Woman," Tarabai Shinde, "A Comparison between Women and Men". Phule, From Selected Writings Women's Education:

Session 5:
Missionary documents/Early Women's Writing on Hygiene, Superstition, 'Education' (to be provided) Excerpts from Katherine Mayo, Selections from Mother India and Muthulakshmi's response to Mayo.

Session 6:
Tanika Sarkar, "Strishiksha, or Education for Women," and Rashsundari Debi, "Amar Jiban" in Words to Win: The Making of Amar Jiban: A Modern Autobiography

Session 7:
Excerpts from the document "Educational Development of Women in India" and "Report of the Task Force on Education for Women's Equality", (Section on Equity in Education), Dipta Bhog, "Gender and Curriculum," EPW (April 27- May 3,2002): 1638-1642, Neera Desai, Vina Mazumdar, Kamalini Bhansali, "From Women's Education to Women's Studies" Narratives from the Women's Studies, Family, ed. Devaki Jain and Pam Rajput Women, Law and Reform

Session 8:
Janaki Nair, " 'Social Reform' and the Women's Question," Women and Law in Colonial India: A Social History, Meera Kosambi, "Gender Reform and Competing State Controls over Women: The Rakhmabai Case (1884- 1888)", Sudhir Chandra, Expositions by Dadaji and Rakhmabai, Appendix: C and D in Enslaved Daughters: Colonialism, Law and Women's Rights

Session 9:
Catherine A. MacKinnon. Toward a Feminist Theory of the State. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1989, Nivedita Menon, "Embodying the Self: Feminism, Sexual Violence and the Law"

Session 10:
Flavia Agnes: "Political Reformation of Christian Personal Law" and "Strategies of Reform", Law and Gender Inequity Reforming Communities and Feminism's Dilemma.

Session 11:
Justice Chandrachud's Judgement in the Shah Bano Case, Martha Nussbaum, "The Role of Religion".

Session 12:
Kalpana Ram, "Rationalism, Cultural Nationalism and the Reform of the Body Politics: Minority Intellectuals of the Tamil Catholic Community", in Social Reform, Sexuality and the State, ed. Patricia Uberoi, Sage, 1996, pp. 291- 318. Gabriela Dietrich, "Women and Religious Identities in India after Ayodhya" in Against All Odds: Essays on Women, Religion and Development from India and Pakistan, ed. Kamla Bhasin, Ritu Menon and Nighat Said, pp.35-50. Susie Tharu and Tejaswini Niranjana, "Problems for a Contemporary Theory of Gender"

Session 13:
Tejaswini Niranjana, " Feminism and Translation in India,: Contexts, Politics, Futures" Cultural Dynamics, Vol 10, Number 2 (July 1998): 133-146, Saba Mahmood, "Feminist Theory, Embodiment, and the Docile Agent: Some Reflections on the Egyptian Islamic Revival", Akeel Bilgrami, "What is a Muslim?"

Session 14:

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