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Critical Caste Studies: Snapshots from Teaching and Research


Event Summary

At this talk, Charu Gupta (University of Delhi) reflected on the making and meanings of caste, Dalit and Bahujan identities, and the criticality of “critical caste studies.” Gupta also considered the intersections between critical caste and gender studies by focusing on three arenas: first, some of the perils and pleasures of teaching gender-caste at the University of Delhi; second, thoughts on bringing out an issue and book on caste and life narratives; and third, her research on the radical anti-caste Shudra reformer Santram BA (1887–1998). Santram BA can be regarded as one of the early theorists of critical caste studies and an anti-caste, proto-feminist. His staunch support for inter-caste marriages, along with his anti-puritanical stance on sexual matters challenged savarna morality, and opened ancillary textures of sex and sexuality and registers of love and intimacy, which punctured dominant upper-caste, male-centric authority.

This event was presented as part of the Dalit Studies and the Study of Caste conference, co-sponsored by the Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS) at the University of Chicago.


Charu Gupta


Charu Gupta (History, University of Delhi) studies gender, sexuality, caste, religious identity and vernacular literatures in twentieth-century India.