Dalit Feminist Emancipation in Modern India: Refusing to Sweep & be Swept Under the Rug

Friday, Jun 24, 2016

Location is ADA accessible

Dalit Feminist Emancipation in Modern India: Refusing to Sweep & be Swept Under the Rug
Location: 554 Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley

Time: Fri, June 24, 6-8 PM

Important discussion between Dalitbahujan academics and activists on Dalit emancipation, gender, sexuality, labor rights, and annihilation of caste in contemporary India.

Professor Sujatha Surepally is an activist cum academician. She currently works as the Principal of the University College of Arts, Social Science and Commerce with the Satavahana University, Karimangar. She has been teaching Sociology for over 13 years. She has written articles dalits, land displacement, dalit women, on SEZs, Anti Polavaram Dam movement and Telangana movement. She has been a regular columnist with Telugu dailies and edits a quarterly namely Desi Disha. Her interests are in active participation in the struggles against caste and gender disparity as well as Adivasis rights, environmental issues, natural resources and Telengana. She hold a Masters in Sociology and has done her Ph.D on Dalit Women’s Empowerment.

Professor Carmel Christy K.J. is an Assistant Professor at Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi. Currently, she is a Fulbright-Nehru postdoctoral fellow at University of California Santa Cruz. Her postdoctoral project attempts to analyse the interconnections between landlessness, caste and Dalit women subjects in the context of Kerala, India. Her book on caste and sexuality titled ‘Sexuality debates in the public space of India: Reading the visible’ is all set to come out by late 2016.

Obalesh Bhemappa hails from the Madiga community, historically been the most marginalized even among the dalit communities. It is also one of the ‘untouchable’ communities. The Madigas form about 95% of the sweepers and manual scavengers in Karnataka. He is one of the few people in the community to have even completed schooling (10th std). Since then he has been working to organize manual scavenging community through various interventions in the Tumkur district. Obalesh and his team work in the Tumkur district which is around 100 KMs from the Banaglore metropolis. Thamate’s interventions to eradicate manual scavenging are three-fold – In the case of youngsters, provide avenues and encouragement to stay away from this hereditary profession and take up alternative employment; in the case of those who’ve spent decades working already, fight for access to entitlements such as minimum wage, PF, health insurance, safety equipment etc; and in the case of kids, provide them sufficient educational support in the form of after-school tuition classes to ensure their academic progress.

Event organized by the Center for Race & Gender (CRG) & Townsend Center Working Group on Muslim Identities & Cultures, co-sponsored by Department of Ethnic Studies and the Program in Asian American & Asian Diasporas Studies, University of California at Berkeley.


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