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The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library


‘Towards a Feminist Understanding of Women, State and Patriarchy in the New Millennium’, 29th June, 2015 .

‘Towards a Feminist Understanding of Women, State and Patriarchy in the New Millennium’

Prof. Ilina Sen,


Much of the contemporary history of mass movements can be understood locationally as being rooted in either a perceived absence of nuances in the overarching nationalist discourse, or along the axes of contesting development visions. The need of the moment seems to be to engage theoretically with the intersections of state policy, peoples’ resistance, and violence (including sexual violence) against women, and in particular to understand the dynamics of this relationship vis a vis the changing nature of state engagement with its citizens. This presentation analyses women’s participation in contemporary mass movements and discusses the limitations of state and nation in addressing women’s aspirations for equity. It also tries to discuss state responses to struggles, the processes of homogenization of national interest and identity, as well as the several problems associated with the construction of identity and response for the women protagonists in struggle. The presentation draws upon available literature as well as research from the field in many ongoing struggles of our times.


Prof. Ilina Sen has been Professor, Women’s Studies, at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha. Her research, writing and action has focused on women’s politics and livelihood issues, as well as issues of sustainable development, agro-biodiversity and peace. Her major publications include A Space Within the Struggle (1990) and Sukhvasin: the Migrant Woman of Chhattisgarh (1995), and Inside Chhattisgarh: a political memoir (2014). She is currently Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi.

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