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.
Introduction: Theorizing Dalit Feminism SUNAINA ARYA AND AAKASH SINGH RATHORE
PART I Indian Feminism vs Dalit Feminism
1 A Critical View on Intersectionality NIVEDITA MENON 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
PART II Predecessors of Dalit Feminism
4 Dalit Women’s Agency and Phule-Ambedkarite Feminism SHAILAJA PAIK 5 Ambedkarite Women WANDANA SONALKAR 6 Ramabai and Ambedkar SHARMILA REGE
PART III Lived Experience as 'Difference'
7 Brahmanical Nature of Violence Against Women SHARMILA REGE 8 Vilifying Dalit Women: Epics and Aesthetics VIZIA BHARATI; Y.S. ALONE 9 Dalit Women's Autobiographies SHARMILA REGE
PART IV What Difference does 'Difference' Make?
10 'Difference' through Intersectionality KIMBERLÉ CRENSHAW 11 Dalit Women Talk Differently GOPAL GURU 12 Debating Dalit Difference SHARMILA REGE
PART V Intersectionality in India
13 Why Intersectionality is Necessary S.J. ALOYSIUS, J.P. MANGUBHAI AND J.G. LEE 14 The Dalit Woman Question SUSIE THARU 15 Responses to Indian Feminists’ Objections MARY E. JOHN; MEENA GOPAL
PART VI Toward a Dalit Feminist Theory
16 Feminist Fictions: A Critique of Indian Feminism JULIE STEPHENS 17 Revitalising Dalit Feminism SMITA M. PATIL 18 Dalit Women’s Experience: Toward a Dalit Feminist Theory KANCHANA MAHADEVAN