Feminism in India: Dr. K. Mahadevan Discusses Intersection of Caste and Gender

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On April 4, 2016, the Department of History and Humanities, in collaboration with the Think! Philosophy Club and the Women’s Leadership Initiative, hosted a lecture on “The Feminist Debate

Dr. Kanchana Mahadevan on feminism

Dr. Kanchana Mahadevan

on Experience: at the Intersection of Caste and Gender,” by Prof. Kanchana Mahadevan from the University of Mumbai.

Professor Mahadevan focused on feminism in India, and the problem of how feminist theory should relate to women’s experience, and in particular the experiences of low caste women. She argued both against theorists’ neglect of women’s experience and against taking that experience as always authentic. Theorists and victims of oppression should instead be thought to be engaged in dialectical learning from each other, she said.

The discussion focused not only on the experience of women in India and the feminist theorization of it, but also on the representation of women in popular culture, including their roles in Bollywood movies and the representation of cross-community marriages and rape in the media.