Anusha Hariharan

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

North Carolina, Chapel Hill, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9818

Approve Date

April 29, 2019

Project Title

Hariharan, Anusha (North Carolina, Chapel Hill, U. of) "Forging Solidarity, Constructing Subjectivity: Dalit Feminist Activism in India and the Making of Transnational Networks"

In the 21st century, Dalit activism in India is not what it once was. India’s socio-political transformation since the 1990s has ushered in new communication technology, global capital, and a range of possibilities on the ground. Dalits – India’s erstwhile “untouchables” – have harnessed these shifts to forge new solidarity networks, enact aspirations for social change, and accordingly construct Dalit subjectivities. In particular, Dalit feminist activists have seized this moment to form connections with feminists from marginalized groups world-wide, and repurpose older links with a variety of transnational actors. This project follows two generations of Dalit feminists working at the caste-gender intersection in Tamil Nadu, in southern India. Using ethnographic research methods, this project asks: why do Dalit feminists forge translocal solidarity networks across different scales – local, regional, national, transnational? In what ways do Dalit feminists construct their subjectivities through interaction with disenfranchised people globally? Sited in Chennai and Madurai, this project follows activists as they conduct activist labor and forge solidarity networks within – and beyond – India. In doing so, the project draws on anthropological theorization of scale and political subjectivity in highlighting Dalit feminist activism’s import for anti-racism activism worldwide.