Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationNorth Carolina, Chapel Hill, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9818
Approve DateApril 29, 2019
Project TitleHariharan, Anusha (North Carolina, Chapel Hill, U. of) "Forging Solidarity, Constructing Subjectivity: Dalit Feminist Activism in India and the Making of Transnational Networks"
ANUSHA HARIHARAN, then a graduate student at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was awarded a grant in April 2019 to aid research on ‘Forging Solidarity, Constructing Subjectivity: Dalit Feminist Activism in India and the Making of Transnational Network,’ supervised by Dr. Jocelyn Chua. This study examined practices of friendship, inter-caste solidarity-building, care and ethical life among feminist social justice activists in Tamil Nadu, southern India. Drawing on a combination of methods that include participant observation, oral histories and archival methods, this research project gathered data that spans multiple decades of feminist activists’ lives to situate social justice activism in the intimate and everyday ethical labor that activists perform. The methods used in this study investigated the ways in which members of a feminist group in Tamil Nadu collectively conceptualize desirable ways to live and work in meaningful ways with each other that subvert age-old regional norms of caste, kinship, class and gender. This is visible in both publically-facing sites of protests, political rallies and public celebrations of activists’ lives, as well as intimate, everyday spheres of domesticity. The study also investigated how feminist subjectivity is constituted through collective articulations of feminist ethics, friendship and practices of care that feminist activists have extended to each other, and others in their political and social worlds, through their lifetimes. Data gathered illuminates how feminists creatively combine seemingly incommensurable moral resources such as Liberation Theology, feminism and Marxism, in how they enact meaningful ways of being in the world, and articulate an ethical sense of self.