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Women and the State in India: Colonial and Postcolonial perspectives. Prof. Vrinda Narain WMST 401 / POLI 422 Fall 2011 Faculty of Arts, McGill University Course objectives: This course will explore the relationship between gender and nation in India, drawing upon insights from feminist legal theory, postcolonial feminist theory and critical race theory. Interrogating dichotomous categories of modernity/tradition, Western/non-Western, public/private, feminist/true Indian woman, topics will include an examination of the connections between feminism, nationalism and colonialism; the idea of citizenship and the construction of women in the discourse of post-colonial nationhood; women, religion and identity; and the treatment of women in the narrative of the law. Exploring the relationship between women and the state, we will study the many ways in which women adopt strategies to renegotiate their status. The aim of the course is to highlight the complexity of the relationship between women and the state, examining how the status of women in India is both implicated in and impacted by the state discourse of modernity and nationhood. The course will be conducted through a combination of discussions led by the instructor, student discussion/presentations, and small group discussions. Attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to complete the required readings for each class so that they can participate in discussions. Students will sign up to present the assigned readings and to be the discussion leaders for each class. No assignment or term paper will be accepted if the student has not attended the classes. Course materials: Obligatory text: Instructor’s coursepack which is available for purchase from the University Bookstore. It includes the following articles: Table of Contents 1. Edward Said, “Introduction”, in Orientalism (New York: Vintage, 1979) 1. 2. Leela Gandhi, “Postcolonialism and Feminism”, in Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998) 81 3. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?”, in C. Nelson and L. Grossberg, eds., Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (Basingstoke: MacMillan Education, 1988) p. 271


4. Kumari Jayawardena, Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World (London: Zed Books Ltd., 1986), Chapter 6, "Women, Social Reform and Nationalism in India", 73. 5. L. Mani, "Contentious Traditions" in K. Sangari and S. Vaid, Recasting Women: Essays in Indian Colonial History (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1990) 88. 6. Katherine Mayo, “Spades are Spades” in Mother India (New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1927) 51. 7. Mrinalini Sinha, Refashioning Mother India: Feminism and Nationalism in Late Colonial India Feminist Studies Vol. 26. No. 3, 623. 8. P. Chatterjee, "The Nationalist Resolution of the Women's Question" in K Sangari and S Vaid, Recasting Women: Essays in Indian Colonial History (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1990) 233. 9. H. Bannerji, “Pygmalion Nation: Towards a Critique of Subaltern Studies and the 'Resolution of the Women's Question’” in Himani Bannerji, Shahrzad Mojab, Judith Whitehead, Of Property and Propriety: The Role of Gender and Class in Imperialism and Nationalism (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001) 34. 10. Joanna Liddle and Rama Joshi, Daughters of Independence: Gender, Caste, and Class in India, (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1976) 24 -46. 11. Vrinda Narain, Reclaiming the Nation: Muslim Women and the Law in India (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008), Chapter 2, "Feminism, Nationalism, and Colonialism", 34. 12. Geraldine Forbes, Women in Modern India: The New Cambridge History of India. Volume IV.2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), Chapter 8, "Women in Independent India", 223. 13. E.M. Schneider, " The Dialectic of Rights and Politics: Perspectives from the Women's Movement " in Katharine T. Bartlett and Rosanne Kennedy eds., Feminist Legal Theory: Readings In Law And Gender (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1991) 318. 14. J. Vickers, "Feminists and Nationalism", in Vanaja Dhruvarajan and Jill Vickers, Gender, Race, and Nation: A Global Perspective (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002) 247.Aditi Kapoor, “The SEWA Way; Shaping another future for informal labour”. 15. Kalima Rose, “SEWA: Women in Movement”, in Nalini Visvanathan, et al., The Women, Gender and Development Reader (Delhi: Zubaan, 1997) 382. 16. Ratna Kapur, "New Cosmologies: Mapping the Postcolonial Feminist Legal Project" in Erotic Justice and the New Politics of Postcolonialism (London, Glass House Press, 2005) 13.


17. Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, The Scandal of the State: Women, Law and Citizenship in Postcolonial India (Duke University Press, 2003), Chapter 5, "Women Between Community and State", 147. 18. B. Cossman & R. Kapur, "Women, Familial Ideology and the Constitution" in R. Kapur, ed., Feminist terrains in legal domains interdisciplinary essays on women and law in India (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1996) 61. 19. C. MacKinnon, “Sex equality under the Constitution of India: Problems, prospects, and "personal laws"”, International Journal of Constitutional Law 2006 4(2):181-202. 20. Pnina Werbner, “The place which is diaspora: citizenship, religion and gender in the making of chaordic transnationalism” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies Vol, 28, No. 1: 119-133 January 2002. 21. Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani: Bollywood, the ‘homeland’ nation-state, and the diaspora”, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2007, volume 25, 1015.

Additional documents: The listed articles highlight the key themes that will form the basis for the lectures and class discussion. We may move more quickly or more slowly through certain material, and we may consider additional readings. Any additions/revisions to the reading list will be announced in class and posted on the website. Any additional documents will be distributed in class or via WebCT Vista. Evaluation: There will be one class assignment and one term paper each worth 50% of the final grade. Students are required to select a topic of their choice, approved by me, based on the course readings, that is of particular interest to them. The assignment/paper must demonstrate an engagement with the course materials and classroom discussion and an ability to critically discuss the key ideas presented in the readings. Format: 12 point font, double spaced. Length: 10 Pages (excluding endnotes) Due: Assignment 1: October 28, 2010. Hand in during class time. Term Paper: TBA NO LATE PAPERS ARE ACCEPTED General Information


Classes: Friday, 9:05 – 11:55 EDUCATION BUILDING Room 519. Instructor: Prof. Vrinda Narain Office: Faculty of Law, Room 203, 3674 Peel Street Phone: 514 398 4927 E-mail: vrinda.narain@mcgill.ca Office hours:Tuesday: 1:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., or by appointment. Academic Policies: “If you have a disability please contact the instructor to arrange a time to discuss your situation. It would be helpful if you contact the Office for Students with Disabilities at 398-6009 before you do this”. “Additional policies governing academic issues which affect students can be found in the McGill Charter of Students’ Rights, available online at http://www.mcgill.ca/secretariat/documents In accord with McGill University’s Charter of Students’ Rights, students in this course have the right to submit in English or in French any written work that is to be graded. McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see http://www.mcgill.ca/integrity/ for more information).

McGill POLI 422 Syllabus  

McGill POLI 422 Syllabus Women in Politics in Post-Colonial India Vrinda Narain Syllabus