Dalit Feminist Theory: A Reader radically redefines feminism by introducing the category of Dalit into the core of feminist thought. It supplements feminism by adding caste to its study and praxis; it also re-examines and re-thinks Indian feminism by replacing it with a new paradigm, namely that caste-based feminist inquiry offers the only theoretical vantage point for comprehensively addressing gender-based injustices.
Drawing on a variety of disciplines, the essays in the volume discuss key themes such as Indian Feminism versus Dalit Feminism; the emerging concept of Dalitpatriarchy; the predecessors of Dalit feminism, such as Phule and Ambedkar; the meaning and value of lived experience; the concept of Difference; the analogical relationship between black feminism and Dalit feminism; the Intersectionality debate; and, the theory-versus-experience debate. They also provide a conceptual, historical, empirical and philosophical understanding of feminism in India today.
Accessible, essential and ingenious in its approach, this book is for students, teachers, specialist scholars as well as activists and the interested general reader. It will be indispensable for those engaged in gender studies, women’s studies, sociology of caste, political science and political theory, philosophy and feminism, Ambedkar studies, and anyone working in areas of caste, class or gender-based discrimination, exclusion, and inequality.
List of Figures
Introduction: Theorizing Dalit Feminism
SUNAINA ARYA AND AAKASH SINGH RATHORE
Indian Feminism vs Dalit Feminism
1 A Critical View on Intersectionality
2 Problems for a Contemporary Theory of Gender
SUSIE THARU AND TEJASWINI NIRANJANA
3 Indian Feminism and ‘Dalit Patriarchy’
GOPAL GURU; V. GEETHA; UMA CHAKRAVARTI
Predecessors of Dalit Feminism
4 Dalit Women’s Agency and Phule-Ambedkarite Feminism
5 Ambedkarite Women
6 Ramabai and Ambedkar
Lived Experience as 'Difference'
7 Brahmanical Nature of Violence Against Women
8 Vilifying Dalit Women: Epics and Aesthetics
VIZIA BHARATI; Y.S. ALONE
9 Dalit Women's Autobiographies
What Difference does 'Difference' Make?
10 'Difference' through Intersectionality
11 Dalit Women Talk Differently
12 Debating Dalit Difference
Intersectionality in India
13 Why Intersectionality is Necessary
S.J. ALOYSIUS, J.P. MANGUBHAI AND J.G. LEE
14 The Dalit Woman Question
15 Responses to Indian Feminists’ Objections
MARY E. JOHN;MEENA GOPAL
Toward a Dalit Feminist Theory
16 Feminist Fictions: A Critique of Indian Feminism
17 Revitalising Dalit Feminism
SMITA M. PATIL
18 Dalit Women’s Experience: Toward a Dalit Feminist Theory