Subjectivity Formations, Resistance and Sociological Knowledge of Dalit Writers in Telangana, South India

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 15:15
Location: Hörsaal 14 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Julia GUENTHER, University of Vienna, Austria
My paper addresses subjectivity formations and resistances of Dalit Writers and analyses how their literature influences sociological knowledge in Telangana, South India. Doing so, I examine texts by Dalit writers who take up a feminist as well as gender perspective. In those texts, the writers discuss a number of prevalent discourses in contemporary India, such as caste, class, patriarchy, environmental issues, power relations, and neo-liberal economy. My research shows how literature functions as a critical voice to hegemonic knowledge and how it can initiate resistance movements against unjust societal developments.

The research methodology is a discourse analysis of narrative interviews taken with the writers between 2012 and 2014. I further analyse their texts seeking to highlight an interlinkage between subjectivity formations, resistance and societal developments. In my research, I focus on Dalit writers from the newly established 29th Indian state called Telangana. The regional setting plays an important role in so far as it has formed subjectivities as well as traditions of resistance by Dalits and thus influenced feminist literature and sociological knowledge. Looking ahead, I question how these discourses continue as Telangana evolves. Which roles will literature written by Dalits play in ensuring that Telangana continues to be a state of critical writers, activists and thinkers?

The study draws from a transdisciplinary approach and incorporates sociological, feminist, post-colonial, and literary theoretical frameworks. The intersectionality approach of the paper discusses the various interlinked factors of sociological knowledge, resistances and subjectivity formations and therefore allows analysing these discourses from a broader analytical perspective.