Fri, 03/22/2013 - 05:29

Questioning Marginality: Dalits and Muslims in Urban India - Conference at Brown University (April 18-19, 2013)

Please save these dates for an exciting two-day conference - Questioning Marginality: Dalits and Muslims in Urban India - at Brown University on April 18th & 19th 2013. The conference is jointly organized by the South Asian Studies Program, Brown-India Initiative, and the graduate student committee on Caste and Inequality in Urbanizing India at Brown University.

Questioning Marginality takes on cities, anticipated as spaces of emancipation from long-standing social hierarchies, to examine the reconfiguration of caste, gender, and religious identities in ways that have continued to foster marginalization of certain social groups in India. Dalits and Muslims, in particular, continue to face considerable social and economic exclusion in urban India. This conference seeks to explore how caste and religious identities shape the everyday experiences of discrimination and inequality for individuals, families and groups in Indian cities, and to unpack the gendered nature of these experiences. Interrogating empirical research and social theory, the conference will bring four major scholars and public intellectuals to Brown campus; their research focuses on the intersection of caste, religion and gender in contemporary India, and they have been engaged with important public debates on inequality and discrimination. Combining the participation of a wide range of Brown faculty and the new work of graduate students, Questioning Marginality will be a forum for dialogue across scholarly lines, for thinking through inequality, and its implications for research, activism and social change more broadly.

We look forward to your participation in the conference. Please RSVP to, to ensure a lunch will be provided.  If you have further questions, they can also be directed to


Gopal Guru, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India
Gopal Guru is a Professor of Social and Political Theory in the Centre for Political Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. While his recent works include The Cracked Mirror: An Indian Debate on Experience and Theory (with Sundar Sarukkai) and Humiliation: Claims and Context, he has written numerous books and essays on Ambedkar, Dalits, women, politics, and philosophy, and his articles appear regularly in leading Indian newspapers like Outlook and The Indian Express.

Nivedita Menon, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India
Nivedita Menon is a Professor at the Centre for Comparative Politics & Political Theory at Jawaharlal Nehru University and specializes on gender, inequality and politics in contemporary India. Her well-known books include Power and Contestation: India after 1989 (with Aditya Nigam); Recovering Subversion: Feminist Politics Beyond the Law, and an edited volume Gender and Politics in India, and in addition to numerous articles, she also writes regularly for Her most recent book, Seeing Like a Feminist, will be discussed on April 24th in a special forum at Brown, given its wide-ranging impact.

Anupama Rao, Barnard College, New York
Anupama Rao is an Associate Professor of History at Barnard College in New York. Her research focuses on caste, gender and subaltern social theory. While her books include The Caste Question, Discipline and the Other Body, and Gender and Caste: Issues in Indian Feminism, she is presently involved in a project on Subaltern Urbanism and a book on Dalit Bombay which explores the relationship between caste, political culture, and everyday life in colonial and postcolonial Bombay.

Irfan Ahmad, Monash University, Australia
Irfan Ahmad is an Anthropologist and Lecturer in Politics at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of Islamism and Democracy in India: The Transformation of the Jamaat-e-Islami and along with numerous scholarly articles on Muslim political formations and social thought, he has contributed to The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought and writes regularly for Economic and Political Weekly, Al-Jazeera, The Times of India, and The Hindu.


Thursday, April 18th
Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute for International Studies
111 Thayer Street, Providence, RI 02912

9:00 AM – 9:50 AM    Tea/Coffee    Watson Lobby
9:50 AM – 10:00 AM    Welcome and Introduction    
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM    Key Lecture and Discussion: Anupama Rao    Joukowsky Forum
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM    Lunch for conference participants    
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM    Grad Student Workshops    
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM    SAS & MES Qahwa and Chai    Koo Library
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM    Key Lecture and Discussion: Gopal Guru    Joukowsky Forum

Friday, April 19th
Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, Room 305
172 Meeting Street, Providence, RI 02912

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM    Tea/Coffee    
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM    Key Lecture and Discussion: Irfan Ahmad    Pembroke 305
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM    Lunch for conference participants    
1:00 PM – 3:30 PM    Grad Student Workshops    Pembroke 305
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM    Tea (break)    
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM    Key Lecture and Discussion: Nivedita Menon    Pembroke 305

Please RSVP to, to ensure a lunch will be provided.

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