ISD10: Critical South Asian Feminists


The transnational feminist group would engage in endeavors that will allow us to transcend 1) disciplinary boundaries 2) national and religious borders, and 3) local-global divisions by exploring erasures of caste, occupation and Islamophobia in both South Asia and in North America. The transnational feminist group will operate within a framework of intersectional transnational feminism which is inclusive of South Asian scholars, and South Asian American feminist scholars.

Active since: 2022

Closed Group of Collaborators

  • Syracuse University
  • Le Moyne College
  • Colgate University

Collaborative Goals

The goal of this group is to combine resources and expertise of the members, as well as their interdisciplinary scholarship across many regions and communities in South Asia to rethink the intersections between state power and social inequalities in South Asian Studies. While the scholarship on South Asia has made considerable strides in challenging Western imperial frameworks that silence people’s perspectives from the Global South, not enough attention has centered on the erasures of caste, military occupation and Islamophobia within this scholarship. The scholarship on South Asia continues to be India-centric and privileges histories and political frameworks that tend to consolidate India’s political stronghold over the sub-continent. The Hindu Right and its authoritarian control is peaking in India, and the rightwing Hindu government is invested in reinterpreting the subcontinent’s history by harkening back to a golden age of Hinduism. In such exclusive visions of India, Muslims, Dalits, and other marginalized communities can only exist as second-class citizens with attenuated rights and privileges.

At this time, scholarly narratives from hitherto neglected countries, regions, and/or communities of South Asia that offer alternative perspectives of the subcontinent’s rich and diverse social, economic, and political histories become even more crucial to foreground. In keeping with these larger political and intellectual goals, the working group will engage with emerging transnational feminist scholarship on Kashmir, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri-Lanka as well as address how the intersections between caste, religion, race, ethnicity, and gender shape and subvert resistance against authoritarian models of governance in South Asia. At the same time, the working group will focus on how diasporic networks in the US and UK are both sites of co-optation and resistance to fascist or authoritarian formations. How might thinking across regions and nations shape new models of collaborative writing and scholarship which are critical to reimagine the domain of South Asian Studies in and beyond the 21st century. And, finally, how might such collaborations become grounds to envision an academic praxis which is rooted in the ethics of social and political justice?

A transnational feminist framework that is in conversation with intersectionality also attends to religion, caste and occupation as significant axes of difference.

Group Organizers

Mona Bhan

Associate Professor of Anthropology, Syracuse University, Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs

Navine Murshid

Associate Professor of Political Science, Colgate University

Farha Ternikar

Professor of Gender & Women's Studies, Le Moyne College

Nausheen Husain

Assistant Professor of Journalism

Group Members

  • Anaar Desai-Stephens, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester


Reading group I

March 13, 2023, 2:12 p.m.

Reading and lunch

May 4, 2023, 2 p.m.