Friday, 21 April 2017

The Role of Individuals in the task of building a growing economy!

Madras Institute of Development Studies
cordially invites you to a
book release function and lecture

The Broken Ladder
The Paradox and the Potential of India’s One Billion

by

Anirudh Krishna
The Edgar T. Thompson Professor of Public Policy and
Professor of political science at Duke University, USA

Prof. K.L. Krishna, Chairman, MIDS
will chair the session and release the book.

April 28, 2017    |   3:30 pm
Adiseshiah Auditorium, MIDS


Despite becoming a global economic force, why does India win so few Olympic medals, and why do so many of its people live in conditions of poverty? Why have opportunities not become available more broadly? How can growing individuals assist with the task of building a growing economy?

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Summer Workshop-Seminar on Heidegger @ Calicut

PATHWAYS 2017
Making Sense Of Heidegger

Centre for Phenomenological Studies plans to organize the Summer Workshop-Seminar on the theme, “Making Sense of Heidegger,” in Calicut (Kozhikodu), Kerala from 23 to 25 June 2017. Faculty members and research scholars who are actively pursuing research in the broad area of phenomenology and existentialism are encouraged to participate in the workshop. 

The principal themes of the workshop-seminar are (1) Intersubjectivity and the four-fold in Heidegger, (2)Heidegger and the Religious Phenomenon, (3) Technological and the Ecological Concerns in Heidegger, (4)Heidegger and the Political, and (5)Issues arising from Division III of Being and Time.

Requirements to participate 

All  scholars wishing to participate in the workshop-seminar will be required to present  a 3-page paper on any one of the 5 themes stated above. Although we will be happy if you kindly prepare your  paper on any one of the above 5 themes,you will definitely get a opportunity to present your paper even  if it is on some  other aspects of phenomenology/existentialism. However, in the absence of a paper, participation in the workshop-seminar will be difficult. I believe that the 3-page paper that you present in the seminar-workshop  will be the abstract of a full paper which you need  to write if your 3-page  abstract is selected for publication.Your 3-page abstract paper must be typed double space and mailed to the e-mail id given below on or before 10th June 2017 positively. 

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Lecture on 'Women Writing in India'

Madras Institute of Development Studies
Cordially invites you for its
Annual MIDS Founder’s Day Lecture

on Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Prof. Susie Tharu, a well- known scholar, author and formerly Professor, Department of Cultural Studies, EFL University, Hyderabad, will deliver the lecture “25 Years Later: Women Writing in India Reconsidered”.

The lecture will be held in the Adiseshiah Auditorium, MIDS, and the function will start at 5.30 pm.

About Susie Tharu

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Saturday, 8 April 2017

MIDS Seminar Series - April 2017

Topic: The Multinationalisms of WEB Du Bois and Rabindranath Tagore
Speaker: Hari Ramesh, PhD Candidate, Political Science, Yale University
Chair: A. R. Venkatachalapathy, Professor, MIDS
Date & Time: Wednesday, 12 April 2017, 3:30 pm
Venue: Adiseshiah Auditorium, MIDS
All are Invited!

Rabindranath Tagore and WEB Du Bois are two prominent figures frequently cited as representative of the soul of a people.

Du Bois rose to national prominence as the leader of the Niagara Movement, a group of African-American activists who wanted equal rights for blacks. In his numerous writings on India, Du Bois returned time and again to an analogy that would come to be called the internal colony thesis, claiming, as he does in 1943, that “we American Negroes are the bound colony of the United States just as India is of England.”

The picture attached is a rare copy of the manuscript of the Letter from Rabindranath Tagore to W. E. B. Du Bois, ca. July 12, 1929, which contains the poet's message of peace to the readers of the "Crisis."

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Doctor as a Fictional Character...


The doctor as a Character in literature has always enthused the literati of all ages and in all climes – for their multifarious depictions – from the nefarious to the generous, from the avaricious to the capricious, from the fabulous to the disastrous, from the mischievous to the adventurous – well, you have ‘em all here, giving us the culturati, goody-goody reasons to witness both the Jekylls and the Hydes of a doctor’s persona.

This three-part series on ‘Docs in Lit,’ seeks to throw further light on Docs of all hues and shades!

So it’s basically Doctors all the way!

Dr. Faustus (1588), a play by Christopher Marlowe, is a dramatization of the Faust legend and a masterpiece of Elizabethan playwright Marlowe.

Doctor Faustus (1947), a novel by Nobel Laureate Thomas Mann. Nobel Prize winner Mann wrote this book in the United States, after fleeing both Nazi Germany and Switzerland during World War II. This novel is a fictional return to the Germany Mann left, and an attempt to come to terms with the society that had forced him out.

Doctor Zhivago (1957), a novel by Nobel Laureate Boris Pasternak. The book was refused publication in the USSR, due to its independent-minded stance on the October Revolution.

Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party (1980), is a novel by Graham Greene. This somewhat bleak novel centers on a rich Englishman living in Geneva who gives dinner parties in which he humiliates his guests.

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a novella by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson first published in 1886.

The Country Doctor, a novel by Honoré de Balzac, published in 1833 as Le Médecin de campagne. Dr. Benassis is a compassionate and conscientious physician who ministers to the psychological and spiritual as well as physical needs of the villagers among whom he has chosen to practice medicine. He has been instrumental in transforming the once-impoverished community into a progressive and healthy town.

The Story of Doctor Dolittle, Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts (1920), written and illustrated by Hugh Lofting, is the first of his Doctor Dolittle books, about a man who learns to talk to animals and becomes their champion around the world.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

'Anatomising' Literature!

‘Anatomy’ in Literature

Have you ever wondered about this curious streak of having an oxymoronic terminology, incorporating the ‘scientific’ to the ‘literary’?

Well, we do have good examples that vouch to this fusion, in the renowned Russian physician and short story writer Anton Chekov, whose famous lines -

"Medicine is my lawful wife and literature my mistress; when I get tired of one, I spend the night with the other,”

speaks volumes to a physician’s love for literature.

Now let’s hack the difference in usage between these two terms!

Anatomy in medicine would denote the science dealing with the form and structure of living organisms.

Whereas

Anatomy, in literature, would mean the dividing of a topic into parts for detailed examination or analysis.

A few examples of ‘Anatomy’ in Literature

Lyly’s Euphues, the Anatomy of Wit - 1578

Euphues, the Anatomy of Wit (1578), marked the beginning of John Lyly’s literary career, made him a best-selling author, and afforded him a reputation as one of the most prominent prose writers of the era.

It is perhaps more accurately remembered for its inflated language known as euphuism, a highly artificial style adopted from Latin prose and never before attempted in English.

Congrats Heber!

Congratulating Bishop Heber College, Tiruchirappalli, on finding a prestigious place among the TOP FIVE COLLEGES in India. Kudos Heber!

It’s no easy task to find a place among the Top Five Colleges in the whole of India, and especially when it's certified by the Ministry of HRD, Govt of India!

Although many many factors have contributed to this top notcher status in India, one special feather in the cap to Heber would be its magnificent library (Can’t help recollect Lamb’s Oxford in the Vacation!)

Well, yes! the Library at Heber, would by all means, be one of THE BEST among all the libraries that you’ve come across in Indian Colleges and Universities, I bet!

If at all you pay a visit to Tiruchirappalli, yes, please pay a visit the famous Rock Fort Temple (Ucchi Pillayar Temple), in Chathiram Bus Stand, and the second stop for you should be the Bishop Heber College Library!  No exaggerations on that!

With a visionary par excellence as the Librarian who is all dedication personified and always passionate about his students’ academic progress and great future in mind, you need not worry about your studies and your future at all!

Such commitment, such passion for excellence, can rarely be rivaled.
  
You just need to surrender yourself in toto, to the Librarian and to the Great Library @ Heber, and the rest is taken care of! 

For a peek into the layout and the holdings in the three huge floors of this magnificent library, please click HERE.

The librarian Dr. Manalan doubles up as a parent, as a local guardian, as a counsellor all rolled in one, and he is available 24x7 @ Heber. The fact that he’s retiring in two more years, gives me the shudder and literally brings tears to my eyes!

Such was his impact on me – an insignificant speck! 

(Imagine how happy i must've been when i saw my 'guiding light' Dr. Jesudoss Manalan, being one of the first to turn up for my PhD defence!)

This blog post HERE is one among a host of testimonies to the fact that Bishop Heber deserves a prestigious regal and royal recline at the pinnacle, among the TOP FIVE COLLEGES in India, ranked by none other than the National Institutional Ranking Framework that comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt of India.

Kudos Heber!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

the Concept of 'the Other'

Notes on ‘the Other’

As used by the French writer Simone de Beauvoir, the concept of ‘the Other’ describes women’s status in patriarchal, androcentric cultures. While men are ‘the One’ (in other words, beings in and of themselves), women are ‘the Other’, beings defined only in relation to men. A woman, de Beauvoir wrote, is ‘defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the Subject, he is the Absolute – she is the Other’ (1997 [1953]: 16).

De Beauvoir’s ideas on women as the Other were set out in The Second Sex (first published in English in 1953). Drawing on the philosophical arguments of Hegel and Sartre, de Beauvoir saw that relationships between individuals were marked by a fundamental contradiction. Each individual self seeks to act freely and autonomously, but simultaneously requires interaction with others in order to define that self. In de Beauvoir’s words, ‘the subject can be posed only in being opposed’ (1997: 16). Generally, individuals are forced to recognise the reciprocity of Otherness. Through our encounters with other individuals, it becomes evident that, just as we see them as ‘the Other’, we ourselves are seen by them as ‘the Other’. However, in the case of women and men, this reciprocity of Otherness is not recognised. Instead, ‘one of the contrasting terms [men] is set up as the sole essential, denying any relativity in regard to its correlate and defining the latter [women] as pure otherness’ (1997: 17–18).

De Beauvoir offers a range of reasons for women’s status as the Other, including the role played by women’s reproductive capacities in limiting their autonomy in the eyes of men. An important aspect of her argument, though, lies in identifying women’s complicity in their subordination. Men, in defining themselves as ‘the One’, position women as ‘the Other’. Women do not regain the status of being ‘the One’, according to de Beauvoir, because they largely accept this state of affairs. ‘Thus, woman may fail to claim the status of subject because she lacks definite resources, because she feels the necessary bond that ties her to man regardless of reciprocity and because she is often very well pleased with her role as the Other’ (1997: 21). Therefore, it is suggested that women identify with the patriarchal, androcentric image of themselves (particularly as reproductive and sexual beings) and so regard themselves as the Other. They have ‘chosen’ to remain ‘beings in themselves’ rather than become ‘beings for themselves’ (Okely 1986: 59), because this status offers them benefits, including the evasion of full, adult moral responsibility and autonomy (Evans 1985: 61).

Fully-funded International PhD Programme for PostGrads in Literature!

Dear final year PostGrads in Literature,

Alison Donnell
On behalf of Alison Donnell, Professor of Modern Literatures in English, SFHEA, I would like to call your attention to a wonderful opportunity for you to do a fully-funded PhD studentship for 39 months starting 1 October 2017 to work on a project on Caribbean Literary Heritage funded by the Leverhulme Trust (CoA Prof Kei Miller).

The project entails sustained exploration of West Indian writing published and written for local and educational contexts and will investigate why these writings accrued less literary value than those by writers who migrated to the UK and writings published by metropolitan literary houses. The research will be underpinned by the methodologies of feminist recovery research, book and publishing history, as well as postcolonial literary theory. Archives to be consulted include: publishers archives (Reading, UK); BBC Written Archives Centre (Caversham); Caribbean Examinations Council archives & Special Collections of University of the West Indies, Cave Hill (Barbados), and the West Indiana Collection, UWI (Trinidad).

The successful student will have input into the final project design and, as part of the project team, will join in project events and publications.

To apply for this studentship you will have - 

ESSENTIAL:-

  • Academic qualifications in Literature, including knowledge of postcolonial literatures (preferably Caribbean literature) at BA or MA level
  • Skills and disposition to help organise, deliver and participate in public engagement activities & social media channels
  • Good organisation and time-management skills
  • Self-motivation and the ability to work as part of a team

Friday, 31 March 2017

Derek Walcott's 'Dream Play' - Dream on Monkey Mountain

A Dream Play (1907), is a drama by August Strindberg. A precursor to both expressionism and surrealism, this play has been successfully revived many times. Strindberg was in the process of breaking from his earlier naturalist approach when he wrote this dream tale of the daughter of the goddess Indra descending to Earth to meet a variety of symbolic characters.

Forerunner of Modern Drama: The play is considered a forerunner of expressionism and the theater of the absurd.

It employs dream symbolism to translate Strindberg’s mystical visions into the language of drama. Highly abstracted characters appear and disappear in stylized settings; scenes and images change unexpectedly; and profound fears and ghastly fantasies materialize. By breaking with the realistic traditions of drama in his later career, Strindberg opened up new possibilities, prefiguring such major dramatic movements of the twentieth century as expressionism and exerting a powerful influence on dramatists such as Samuel Beckett, Eugene O’Neill, and Eugene Ionesco.

Derek Walcott’s Dream Play: Dream on Monkey Mountain

Makak (Chris McFarlane) prepares to destroy his
vision (Juette Carty) in 'Dream on Monkey Mountain'.
The Dream on Monkey Mountain (1967) belongs to the twentieth-century genre called dream plays, connected with works by playwrights such as Strindberg as well as by Synge and Soyinka. The play's main character is Makak (French patois for "Ape"), a black charcoal-burner who comes to town, gets drunk, and is taken into custody by Corporal Lestrade, a mulatto guard who is the maintainer of law and order during the later years of the colonial power. In a dream scene of a mock trial that was probably inspired by Kafka and Hesse, Lestrade accuses Makak of being intoxicated and damaging the premises of a local salesman. However, in another vivid dream sequence, Makak is crowned king in the romantic Africa of his roots, surrounded by his wives, his warriors, and the masks of pagan gods.

On Androcentrism

This is just an extended disquisition and supplementation to our discussion in class today on the ‘normatives’ in society based on ‘Androcentrism.’ Please find below a wonderful rundown on the term ‘androcentrism,’ excerpted from 50 Key Concepts in Gender Studies by Jane Pilcher & Imelda Whelehan.

Here we go!

Androcentrism

Deriving from the Greek word for male, androcentrism literally means a doctrine of male-centredness. Androcentric practices are those whereby the experiences of men are assumed to be generalisable, and are seen to provide the objective criteria through which women’s experiences can be organised and evaluated.

Some writers, particularly those influenced by psychoanalytical theory, prefer the terms phallocentrism or phallocentric, in order to draw attention to the way the phallus acts as the symbolic representation of male-centredness.

A related concept is that of phallogocentrism. Deriving from the work of Derrida and Lacan, this term describes those ideas centred around language or words (logos) that are masculine in style.

Postmodern feminist writers such as Cixous argue that phallogocentric language is that which rationalises, organises and compartmentalises experience and it is on this basis that terms ending in ‘ism’ (e.g. feminism) may be rejected (Brennan 1989; Tong 1998). An early use of the term ‘androcentric’ was made by Charlotte Perkins Gillman who subtitled her 1911 book, ‘Our Androcentric Culture’.
Dear Students of II MA English,

All your II CIA Marks and Assignment Marks (with me) will be handed over to you personally in your classroom, on Tuesday, 04 April 2017.

Corrections/clarifications if any, should be made on that day itself.

Hence, please be present in your class on Tuesday, 04 April 2017. No change, whatsoever, will be entertained after the given deadline.

Regards,

Dr. Rufus 

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Dear Students of I MA English & III BA English,

You may collect your answer scripts of the II CIA Test, when I meet you in class tomorrow, Friday, 31 March 2017.

Corrections/clarifications, if any, should be brought to my notice on or before 03 April 2017.

Regards,
Dr. Rufus

Discussion @ MIDS

Discussion on Tamil Nadu State Budget 2017-18
@ Adiseshiah Auditorium, Madras Institute of Development Studies
Friday, 31 March 2017
Programme

2:15 pm
Welcome and opening remarks by Prof. Shashanka Bhide, Director MIDS

Remarks by
Mr. S. Krishnan I.A.S.,
Principal Secretary, Department of Planning, 
Development and Special Initiatives, GoTN

2.45 pm
Presentation by Invited Speakers
Dr. R. Srinivasan,
Associate Professor,
Department of Econometrics, University of Madras
Prof. K. R. Shanmugam,
Professor, IFMR
Prof. V. R. Muraleedharan,
Professor, IITM

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Kudos dear students...

I congratulate the following students of II MA English for their original, highly creative and inspiring write-ups on their tryst with the Chennai Book Fair and on other related Events in MCC as well.

The impactful, highly creative articles of the students, whose names are given below, are already displayed on our academic web blog. 

If, per chance, I’ve missed out on the name of any student, kindly email me rightaway, at rufusonline@gmail.com

All of you get the promised bonus marks as part of your II CIA, on the General Essay paper. You may collect your answer sheets of the 'General Essay' paper tomorrow in class.

Keep up the spirit ye all.

God bless you.

Best wishes,

Dr. Rufus

Congratulations, again, dear students, on your highly creative and inspiring write-ups on the Chennai Book Fair 2017.

May your bonding with books be for life!

1.      Pheba K Paul, II MA English
2.      Aparna, R. II MA English
3.      Joanna Shalom John, II M.A. English
4.      Christina Mary George, II M.A English

"I am Monarch of all I survey..."

The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory
[Derek Walcott, Nobel Lecture, December 7, 1992]

Felicity is a village in Trinidad on the edge of the Caroni plain, the wide central plain that still grows sugar and to which indentured cane cutters were brought after emancipation, so the small population of Felicity is East Indian, and on the afternoon that I visited it with friends from America, all the faces along its road were Indian, which, as I hope to show, was a moving, beautiful thing, because this Saturday afternoon Ramleela, the epic dramatization of the Hindu epic the Ramayana, was going to be performed, and the costumed actors from the village were assembling on a field strung with different-coloured flags, like a new gas station, and beautiful Indian boys in red and black were aiming arrows haphazardly into the afternoon light. Low blue mountains on the horizon, bright grass, clouds that would gather colour before the light went. Felicity! What a gentle Anglo-Saxon name for an epical memory.

Under an open shed on the edge of the field, there were two huge armatures of bamboo that looked like immense cages. They were parts of the body of a god, his calves or thighs, which, fitted and reared, would make a gigantic effigy. This effigy would be burnt as a conclusion to the epic. The cane structures flashed a predictable parallel: Shelley's sonnet on the fallen statue of Ozymandias and his empire, that "colossal wreck" in its empty desert.

Drummers had lit a fire in the shed and they eased the skins of their tables nearer the flames to tighten them. The saffron flames, the bright grass, and the hand-woven armatures of the fragmented god who would be burnt were not in any desert where imperial power had finally toppled but were part of a ritual, evergreen season that, like the cane-burning harvest, is annually repeated, the point of such sacrifice being its repetition, the point of the destruction being renewal through fire.

An Inspirational Interview of sorts with Derek Walcott! Couldn't have been better!

Remembering a legend and his artistic ensemble, in this month of mourning for Derek Walcott - a much-loved Nobel laureate of our times!  (23 January 1930 – 17 March 2017).

In this candid interview with Edward, Derek Walcott deliberates on a host of issues close to his heart - on the English language, on being a Caribbean writer, on V. S. Naipaul, on the importance of the figure of Robinson Crusoe to him, on Heaney, on his guru Robert Lowell, his style of writing, and lots more...

Reproducing below, a wonderfully taken interview - i would personally rate it the best Derek has given - where he opens his mind and heart to everything about Derek - the artist!

INTERVIEWER: What would you say about the epiphanic experience described in Another Life, which seems to have confirmed your destiny as a poet and sealed a bond to your native island?

WALCOTT
There are some things people avoid saying in interviews because they sound pompous or sentimental or too mystical. I have never separated the writing of poetry from prayer. I have grown up believing it is a vocation, a religious vocation. What I described in Another Life—about being on the hill and feeling the sort of dissolution that happened—is a frequent experience in a younger writer. 

I felt this sweetness of melancholy, of a sense of mortality, or rather of immortality, a sense of gratitude both for what you feel is a gift and for the beauty of the earth, the beauty of life around us. When that’s forceful in a young writer, it can make you cry. It’s just clear tears; it’s not grimacing or being contorted, it’s just a flow that happens. The body feels it is melting into what it has seen. This continues in the poet. It may be repressed in some way, but I think we continue in all our lives to have that sense of melting, of the “I” not being important. That is the ecstasy. It doesn’t happen as much when you get older. 

There’s that wonderful passage in Traherne where he talks about seeing the children as moving jewels until they learn the dirty devices of the world. It’s not that mystic. Ultimately, it’s what Yeats says: “Such a sweetness flows into the breast that we laugh at everything and everything we look upon is blessed.” That’s always there. It’s a benediction, a transference. It’s gratitude, really. The more of that a poet keeps, the more genuine his nature. I’ve always felt that sense of gratitude. I’ve never felt equal to it in terms of my writing, but I’ve never felt that I was ever less than that. And so in that particular passage in Another Life I was recording a particular moment.

INTERVIEWER: How do you write? In regard to your equation of poetry and prayer, is the writing ritualized in any way?

WALCOTT
I don’t know how many writers are willing to confess to their private preparatory rituals before they get down to putting something on paper. But I imagine that all artists and all writers in that moment before they begin their working day or working night have that area between beginning and preparation, and however brief it is, there is something about it votive and humble and in a sense ritualistic. 

Individual writers have different postures, different stances, even different physical attitudes as they stand or sit over their blank paper, and in a sense, without doing it, they are crossing themselves; I mean, it’s like the habit of Catholics going into water: you cross yourself before you go in. Any serious attempt to try to do something worthwhile is ritualistic. I haven’t noticed what my own devices are. But I do know that if one thinks a poem is coming on—in spite of the noise of the typewriter, or the traffic outside the window, or whatever—you do make a retreat, a withdrawal into some kind of silence that cuts out everything around you. 

What you’re taking on is really not a renewal of your identity but actually a renewal of your anonymity, so that what’s in front of you becomes more important than what you are. Equally—and it may be a little pretentious-sounding to say it—sometimes if I feel that I have done good work I do pray, I do say thanks. It isn’t often, of course. I don’t do it every day. I’m not a monk, but if something does happen I say thanks because I feel that it is really a piece of luck, a kind of fleeting grace that has happened to one. Between the beginning and the ending and the actual composition that goes on, there is a kind of trance that you hope to enter where every aspect of your intellect is functioning simultaneously for the progress of the composition. But there is no way you can induce that trance.

Submission of your Assignments - Regarding

Dear Students,

Those of you who are doing your assignments under my supervision, kindly remember these points!

If it’s going to be a “cut and paste” job, you better not send it at all, because I think I can ‘search’ your assignment’s “40 KB of googled data in MS Word," all by myself on the great grandmother of knowledge – Google.com, and well, even much much much more than your 'stolen,' and/or ‘smuggled’ data.

A Sample Submission  for your perusal
Oh come on guys, give my plagiarism software some rest. It hasn’t stopped beeping since last week! J

Well, it’s YOUR assignment, and please do take it seriously. (Remember, it substitutes one CIA Test! Just in case you forgot all about that!)

If you think you don’t have the time and the integrity to do an honest assignment all by yourself, you’d better not submit it at all!

And please, for heaven’s sake, don’t submit anonymous attachments! [that have no details, whatsoever, about the sender].

Moreover, while submitting an online assignment, please have the courtesy to introduce yourself, the title of the course paper, the class you are from, etc. 

Making their Voices heard...


The stories in this book will agitate your heart and energise your intellect, and stimulate and open up your imagination to the possibilities of women’s agency and endurance. The book was first published in Hindi as Sangtin Yatra (a journey of solidarity, reciprocity and of enduring friendship). The English version Playing with Fire appeared as a response in defence of the first book. Sangtin Yatra gives us hope that women can move from individual empowerment to form a collective countervailing power bloc. In the Foreword, Chandra Talpade Mohanty captures the theme and spirit of the book. She acknowledges the book as a gift ‘which enacts and theorises experience, storytelling and memory work as central in the production of knowledge and resistance’.

Playing with Fire was conceived and researched by nine women but portrays the lives of seven village-level activists from diverse castes and religions. The seven activists are: Anupamlata, Ramsheela, Reshma Ansari, Shashi Vaish, Shashibala, Surbala and Vibha Bajpayee. These women have worked in seventy villages in the Sitapur District in rural India. The women work for the Nari Samata Yojana – a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which seeks to empower rural women of the Dalit castes (lowest castes). Eight of the women started an independent organisation, Sangtin, that befriends poor rural women.  

This is one of the few intimate books in the development and gender field that presents the stories and perspectives of village-level fieldworkers. Very often fieldworkers do not get to tell their own stories as the seven women reflect, ‘so often we have asked other women to share their personal stories but no one has ever asked us to tell our own’ (2006: 15).

It is in these personal and collective journeys that we are given intricate and in-depth pictures of the power structures in the Indian family, which ‘are often difficult to observe and record’, and as another fieldworker writes, ‘many fieldworkers are unable to effect change in their own homes and quietly endure family violence – but outside the home in a collective and in the community they are towers of strength’ (Krishanmurty, 1999: 118). These are the stories that often feminist researchers or even activists hesitate to intervene in, the stories of individual oppression in the family. The reflective stories tell how women negotiate these multiple oppressions and strategically challenge them. The collective stories become a ‘chorus’ as they inform us how their personal consciousness developed and changed. The vivid and compelling stories tell us how personal issues get intertwined with the political and social and rescue that long forgotten feminist slogan that the ‘personal is political’.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Institute Seminar Series @ MIDS

Transforming the Subjective and the Objective
A Dialogical Workshop
24 March 2017        Friday       2:00 PM

Chair: Prof. Ananta Kumar Giri, MIDS
Speakers: Prof. Ananta Kumar Giri
Dr. Marcus Bussey, University of Sunshine Coast, Australia (through Skype)
Dr. Subir Rana, Independent Scholar, Bangalore
Prof. Manjubala Dash, MTPG & RIHS, Puducherry


Outline: Subjective and objective are inter-related dimensions of human existence and our quest for objectivity in science, society and scholarship is part of this broader human condition.  Objectivity in social sciences has been much discussed and much water has flown in our rivers of understanding, from Max Weber to Michel Foucault. To this complex field of critique and reflections, Amartya Sen has offered his perspective of what he calls positional objectivity: “[..] positionally dependent observations, beliefs, and actions are central to our knowledge and practical reason. The nature of objectivity in epistemology, decision theory and ethics has to take note of the parametric dependence of observation and observation on the position of the observer.” But the objectivity here is that of an observer but agents in a field of life as well as subjects and objects of understanding are not only observers but also participants.