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Feminist foremothers, Honorary males or what?  


Prof. Kamala Ganesh  
Departmentof Sociology, University of Mumbai


Friday, 02nd Febuary 2018 at 3:00 p.m. 

Venue: Seminar Room (First Floor),Department of Sociology, University of Delhi 

You are cordially invited to attend the presentation and participate in the discussion.



This presentation on the early generation of women sociologists in India focuses on eight prominent women born in the 1920s: Chandrakala Hate, Leela Dube, Neera Desai, Irawati Karve, Hemalata Acharya, Bela Dutt Gupta, C.Parvathamma and Manorama Savur. It analyses their engagement with the subject of women and gender, drawing from feminist insights on location, reflexivity and intersectionality. How do these women feature in the legacies of sociology and of women’s studies? How do they fit into categories like ‘feminist foremother’? While some wrote sociologically on the topic of women and gender as their prime focus, for others it was one among several topics. Some were mostly silent on it. Does this mean that they are to be treated as ‘honorary males’, another popular category? Given the overarching background of nationalism that had raised women’s issues in specific ways, this generation could not have been immune to the topic. Post 1970s feminism would also have played a role in their consciousness. Delving into their non-academic activities, and informal interactions, the presentation argues that a concern with women’s issues was indeed present in all eight women, although not always articulated formally as such. With the way social sciences defined professionalism, the informal hierarchy of subjects that ranked women’s studies lower than sociology and Marxist approaches that side-lined gender, the majority in our group could their express themselves only sotto voce. Yet, there was shared awareness and concern that made for a tentative ‘community’.  


Contact Information

Telephone: 91(0)11 27667858
Address: Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, 
University of Delhi (North Campus)
Delhi - 110007

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