Gender and Body Politics: exploring the materialities and intimacies of social reproduction in NW India | Humanities & Social Sciences

Gender and Body Politics: exploring the materialities and intimacies of social reproduction in NW India

Tuesday Seminar
Prof Maya Unnithan
Date and Time: 
Tue, 09/01/2024 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
03:30 PM to 05:00 PM
Committee Room (MS-611) Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, 5th Floor, Main Building, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

Abstract: Drawing on long term fieldwork in southern and central Rajasthan, in the talk I will discuss how gender and body rights-based frameworks provide a critical lens in understanding the politics of representation and social reproduction across caste, class and tribe in this region of NW India. Gender power and practices underpin the politics of representation (eg.'tribalisation') as they do narratives of bodily claims, entitlements and reproductive justice ('indigenous rights'). More broadly, such frameworks enable a critical reflection on the diffusion (and limits) of global norms to do with gender based rights discourse.

Speaker Bio: Professor Maya Unnithan is Head, Department of Anthropology at Sussex
and Director of the Sussex Centre for Cultures of Reproduction, Technologies & Health (CORTH). She is a Social and Medical Anthropologist who works at the intersection of Anthropology, Global Health and International Development. Maya has a Ph.D in Social
Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and holds degrees in Sociology (MA) and Economics (BA Hons). She has taught at the University of Sussex since 1991. Prof Unnithan has over thirty years of international and field-based research experience and collaborative work
with research institutions in India. Her work has received funding from the Economic and Social Science Research Council UK, the Wellcome Trust UK and the Norwegian Research Council.

Maya's early work on caste, gender and tribal identity in Rajasthan was published as a monograph, 'Identity, Gender and Tribal Identity' Berghahn, 1997. Her research since 1998 has focused on issues of bodily and health governance, global rights discourse, maternal mortality, infertility, reproductive technologies and sexual reproductive health inequalities as discussed in her latest book, Fertility, Health and Reproductive politics: Re-imagining Rights in India (Routledge, 2019). Apart from a number of journal articles, Maya is also author/co-author of several books including, 'Critical Journeys: The Making of Anthropologists' (2006), Fatness and the Maternal Body: Women's Experiences of Corporeality and the Shaping of Social Policy' (2011), and 'The Cultural Politics of Reproduction: Migration, Health and Family making' (2015).