Jana Tschurenev, ETH Zürich
Intersectionality: Gender and Sexuality, Empire and Nation in modern South Asian History
In recent years, buzzwords such as intersectionality and interdependency have become a focal point in German and other European gender studies debates. The core of these new approaches, which are also gaining popularity in the field of European history-writing, is to analyze gender as deeply entwined with other factors of social difference and inequality, classically race and class. The paper takes these approaches as a starting point to review some currents of research in Indian history, with a basic focus on the connections between the transformation of the order of gender and sexuality and colonial encounters on the one hand, and gender-politics and nation-building on the other hand. Exploring topics such sati and agency, colonial masculinities, the ‘white women’s burden’, and the problematic stance of an ‘Indian feminism’, the paper shows that the perspective of intersectionality has been implicitly present in many writings on women’s and gender history in India. It therefore asks how a dialogue between gender studies debates and History of South Asia may proof fruitful for both academic fields.