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Feminist Research Is a Political Project

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This issue of the Review of Women’s Studies (RWS) coincides with the 125th birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar, a celebratory moment in our collective intellectual and political travels. As Sharmila Rege observed in her introduction to Against the Madness of Manu, it is possible to go through a postgraduate degree in the social sciences in India today without ever encountering the work of Ambedkar (2013: 13). Yet, a careful reading of Ambedkar opens out unimaginable possibilities for research, writing and sociopolitical engagement and has historically led to the tracing of “different histories and futures of feminism and anticaste politics in India” (2013: 56)

It is also extremely important to register that the moment we are poised at is one where women’s studies, gender studies and feminism have been challenged in fundamental ways. We take note of Connell’s (2015: 52) concern that the defi cit of recognition of scholarship from the global periphery is a “structural problem of feminist thought on a world scale.” Intersecting with this is the fact that feminist scholarship even within the “periphery” has very rarely, if at all, engaged with the ways in which gender is deeply embedded in social location and constituted by it. Speaking of contemporary India, the violent realities of patriarchal heteronormativity, caste, the many faces of Hindu majoritarianism and neo-liberal marketplaces, for instance, constitute bounded discourses around gender that do not displace the foundational bases of dominant certainties

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