Book Launch: “The Vulgarity of Caste: Dalits, Sexuality, and Humanity in Modern India”
SASNET invites you to take part in this live-streamed book launch with Shailaja Paik, in which she will respond to questions regarding her latest book: “The Vulgarity of Caste: Dalits, Sexuality, and Humanity in Modern India”.
About the author
Shailaja Paik is Taft Distinguished Professor of History and Affiliate Faculty in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as Asian Studies at the University of Cincinnati. The Vulgarity of Caste: Dalits, Sexuality, and Humanity (Stanford University Press, 2022) is her second book and focuses on the politics of caste, class, gender, sexuality, and popular culture in modern Maharashtra. For more information about the book, see here.
About the book
The Vulgarity of Caste offers the first social and intellectual history of the Dalit (“Untouchable”) performance of Tamasha—a popular form of public, secular, traveling theatre in Maharashtra, Western India—and places Dalit Tamasha women who represented the desire and disgust of the patriarchal society at the heart of modernization in twentieth century India.
Drawing on ethnographies, films, and untapped archival materials, Paik illuminates how Tamasha was produced and shaped through conflict over caste, gender, sexuality, and culture. Dalit performers, activists, and leaders negotiated the violence and stigma in Tamasha as they struggled to claim manuski (human dignity), and transform themselves from ashlil (vulgar) to assli (authentic) and manus (human beings). Building on and departing from the Ambedkar-centered historiography and movement-focused approach of Dalit studies, Paik examines the ordinary and everdayness in Dalit lives.
Ultimately, Paik demonstrates how the choices that communities make about culture speak to much larger questions about inclusion, inequality, and structures of violence of caste within Indian society, and opens up new approaches for the transformative potential of Dalit politics and the global history of gender, sexuality, and the human.
About the book launch
During the seminar, Shailaja Paik will respond to questions from the following discussants:
- Joel Lee, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Williams College.
- Rupa Viswanath, Professor of Indian Religions at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies at the University of Göttingen.
- Yashpal Jogdand, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.
The seminar will be live-streamed from SASNET Facebook page (Swedish time). No registration is needed.