ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Feminist Critical Medical Anthropology Methodologies

The author is a critical feminist medical anthropologist who has been engaged in ethnographic research on women's health issues in India for the past 25 years. Drawing from her own research experiences, this paper explores the methodologies entailed in research as a feminist critical medical anthropologist: by unpacking core methodological assumptions behind each component of her disciplinary position, introducing methodologies at each level--sociocultural anthropology, medical anthropology, critical medical anthropology, and finally feminist critical medical anthropology. It also examines how she has operationalised the fusion of these methodological approaches in her own research projects. The ways in which the findings from this research have contributed to our understanding of gender and can be useful for improving healthcare for women are also discussed.

Menstruation, Purity and Right to Worship

The growing protest against temples that deny access to menstruating women should also challenge the institutionalisation of faith and the mediating power of the priest.

Transactions among Colonials

Transactions among Colonials Empire, the National, and the Postcolonial, 1890-1920: Resistance in Interaction by Elleke Boehmer; Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002; pp 239 with index, price not mentioned.

Liberating Jyotiba Phule

Selected Writings of Jyotiba Phule edited by G P Deshpande; Left Word, New Delhi, 2002; pp 247, Rs 450.

Defining Agendas

Women’s Struggle: A History of the All India Women’s Conference 1927-2002 by Aparna Basu and Bharati Ray; Manohar, Delhi, 2003; Second Edition, pp 172 + Appendices, Rs 550

Women's Studies in Indian Universities

Feminist scholarship has acquired a degree of acceptance in academia. Increasingly influenced by post-modern thought, women's studies scholarship has questioned previously held definitions of power/powerlessness, sexuality and fixed gender identities. The challenge to 'grand' theories has generated a rich understanding of the heterogeneity of human experiences. Nonetheless the fear is whether this legitimate critiquing of the shortfalls of the theories of the 1970s has undermined the political vision of feminism's original project.

Left-liberalism and Caste Politics

Whether it is dalit politics or feminist struggles, more and more analysts are focusing on the realm of embodied experience involving groups rather than on abstract rationalist theory involving individuals. The obvious question is: can communities, like caste groups, be viewed as legitimate categories within the framework of liberal modernity? This essay explores the idea that group-centred 'embodied experience' may be no more than a phantom category. The emergence of this third category in order to bypass the tradition-modernity or communalism-secularism dyad, may turn out to be without much substance.

History of Women's Rights: A Non-Historicist Reading

This essay revisits the history of the rhetoric of women's agency and rights in colonial and postcolonial India in which debates around liberalism were often played out by mobilising the language of self-sacrifice to oppose the language of self-interest. The focus is on the debates around the Hindu Code Bill, 1955-56 which gave Hindu women the right to inherit paternal property and to institute divorce proceedings.

Light Shines through Gossamer Threads

Gender relations in some adivasi (tribal) societies are relatively more egalitarian than among other communities but enormous changes are now taking place in their resource base and livelihoods. How does this affect the women's spaces in the domestic and public spheres? This paper explores the process of change as a scattered semi-nomadic group of adivasi foragers come together to form a village settlement. Focusing on one family, and one woman among them, it reflects upon whether and how an indigenous democratic fabric and relative gender egalitarianism may be retained in the face of structural changes in the adivasi life worlds. Using a personal narrative, shaped by different 'dialogical levels', the paper traces the dialogical stages through which the 'story' unfolds. It suggests that the narrative as a qualitative research tool may be used to interrogate women's political spaces and to bring the family into development discourse.

Gender in Feminist Theory

Gender by V Geetha; Theorising Feminism Series, Stree, Kolkata, 2002; pp xvi + 149, Rs 175.

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