South Asia Feminist Preconference 2014

Featured Conference: Animal, Mineral, Vegetable: Feminist Provocations
"Animal, Mineral, Vegetable: Feminist Provocations" Feminist Preconference at the 43rd Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison Wisconsin, 16 October 2014, 9:30-5:30 pm, Madison Concourse Hotel. Co-organizers: Priti Ramamurthy, University of Washington and Naisargi Dave, University of Toronto

Those of us who work on "South Asia" and on broadly “feminist” questions, necessarily engage with the nonhuman, material world. We encounter environmental and agrarian transformations; roads and infrastructure; livestock and land; consumption and its limits; water and drought; plants and forests; bestial metaphors; the nature-culture divide itself. And yet, our feminist historiographic and ethnographic concerns have tended to bracket the animals, minerals, vegetables, and things that are so fundamentally constitutive of social life in South Asia, and elsewhere. In this pre-conference our aim is to animate: to rethink what are the proper subjects of South Asian feminism, to critically interrogate and perhaps provincialize humanist and anthropocentric approaches to the world. We assume that most of us are already doing just that, in ways implicit or otherwise. In light of both a long tradition of feminist scholarship in South Asia that engages with environments and materiality, as well as more recent, interdisciplinary explorations of animacy and material ecologies, the presentations in this conference critically explore the complex relationships among people, animals, minerals, plants, and things. Archaeological, philosophical, biological, or ecological epistemes will inform our conversations. We ask: what are the continuities between environmental feminism and newer work on animacy and matter? How do frameworks of subjectivity that take seriously non-human actants contribute to our understanding of gender, sexuality, and the political? What does the suggestion of new epistemologies open up for us; what might it obscure? What is the relevance of these conversations, dare we ask, for and from “South Asia?”

South Asia Feminist Preconference 2014 (PDF)

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