This book uses communities of women as a framework for reading women’s experience, rights and aspirations in Assam and Northeast India. It explores the varying roles played by such communities in the formation of society, the emergence of a women’s public sphere and the representation of these communities in culture. The essays in the volume study a host of women’s communities including the Mahila Samiti, Jain women’s organisations, Lekhika Sanstha, lesbian communities, religious gatherings, scientific and environmental groups, women’s collaborations through cookbooks, as well as nebulous communities of victims of persecution. They examine how women’s communities are both empowering and transformational but may paradoxically also be regressive and static.
Lucid, analytical, and rich with case studies, this volume will be useful to scholars and researchers of gender studies, sociology, political science, history and cultural studies, particularly those interested in Northeast India.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments Introduction Part 1: Society 1. "Great Sensation in Guwahati": Mini’s Marriage, Assam Mahila Samiti and the Sarda Act in late colonial Assam 2. Witch-hunting and resistance to the formation of women’s community 3. Participation in and Access to the Public ‘Sacred’ Space: Sisterhood and the Naamghar in Assam 4. Questions of Space, Autonomy and Identity: A study of the Communities of Jain women in Dibrugarh 5. Lesbian Women and the Politics of Community Formation: Changing Discourses on Citizenship Part 2: Culture 6. Media Representing Women -Women in the Media Exploring Possibilities of Community 7. Pushpalata Das’ Agnisnata Chandraprava: Woman Writing Woman 8. The Assam Lekhika Sanstha: A Community of Women Writers 9. Nature, Science and Women’s Community 10. Women, Community and the Material Culture of Food Appendix Aamish O Niraamish Aahar (Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian Cuisine) (Selections) Translated and Annotated
Nandana Dutta is Professor of English at Gauhati University, Assam, India. Her areas of work include Assam and modernity, English literature, American studies, women’s studies and the politics of representations. She has published essays in journals such as Global South, Journeys, Interventions, Journal of Contemporary Thought, Journal of Creative Communication, Seminar and Australian Literary Studies besides contributing essays to edited collections on Assam, identity and violence. She is also the author of Questions of Identity in Assam (2012).