ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

In Search of Liberating Self: A Subjective Narrative on Academic Space

Presenter

DIWAKAR JYOTI - UNIVERSITY OF DELHI, POLITICAL SCIENCE, NEW DELHI, India

Panel

18 – Deviant Bodies, Prohibited Territories and Academia in South Asia

Abstract

¬†Educational institutions are not merely a physical structure but a space for the cultivation of the mind. In India, anti-caste intellectuals witness education as a turitya ratna for liberating marginalized sections from the dominant structures. However, historically educational institution in India monopolize by the Brahmanical communities in order to maintain caste hegemony. The Dvija caste profess to be intellect and associated with mind. In contrast to that, non-Dvija were forced to engage in physical labour. Paradoxically, women have been treated as non-Dvija. Therefore, idea of confining women to the private domain also limits their knowledge about various spheres. As a result of overlapping intersectionality of various structures restricts women space and their mobility with the consideration of “politics of waiting” (restricting entry to educational, employment, and asset-owning opportunities) in order to encroach on any space. Owning a space as a Dalit woman researcher has become contested to overcome from her everyday marginality. Since education is the only way for her and first-generation scholars to gatecrash such academic spaces. This paper is an autoethnographic narrative of the researcher’s journey into higher education and her subsequent engagement with so-called liberal institutions. The researcher has discussed how being in a knowledge production setting affected the evolving idea of gendered self in her academic endeavor.