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Speaker: Professor Srila Roy

Srila Roy is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, and the 2022 Hunt-Simes Visiting Chair in Sexuality Studies at the University of Sydney. She is the author of Remembering Revolution: Gender, Violence and Subjectivity in India’s Naxalbari Movement (Oxford, 2012), editor of New South Asian Feminisms (Zed, 2012), and co-editor of New Subaltern Politics: Reconceptualising Hegemony and Resistance in Contemporary India (Oxford, 2015). Her book on feminist and queer politics in contemporary India will be published by Duke University Press in 2022. At Wits, she leads the Governing Intimacies project, which promotes new scholarship on gender and sexuality in Southern Africa and India, and is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation.

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This talk will provide an overview of my forthcoming book, Changing the Subject. The book maps a shifting terrain of feminist and queer politics in India with the liberalisation of the Indian economy. The consequences of India’s liberalization were paradoxical: the influx of global funds for social development signaled the co-option and depoliticization of struggles around gender and sexuality but also amplified their visibility and vitalization in unexpected ways. Beyond narratives of feminism’s co-option or renewal, this book reveals the specificity of activist and nongovernmental organization (ngo) work, and the kinds of subjects and selves that these made possible. The interplay between organizational logics and ones of self-making is at the heart of this book, and it offers a new way of knowing feminism, as a governmentality and as a technology of the self.

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