An Absent Presence: Tracing the Difference
Lakshmi Kannan
INDIGENOUS ROOTS OF FEMINISM: CULTURE, SUBJECTIVITY AND AGENCY by Jasbir Jain Sage Publications, 2012, 341 pp., 695
March 2012, volume 36, No 3

Every author needs a defining moment to get started on the long, arduous path towards writing that next book. And that cathartic moment came to Jasbir Jain while she was on a lecture tour in the US, talking extensively on ‘Women and History: Memory, Resistance and Agency’ when she suddenly realized that she needed to ‘fill in gaps’ in areas if she sought to locate the details for the sheer multiplicity of women’s issues. She knew too that unless she worked on that next book, the contours of issues would not emerge with contextual clarity. Roots of Feminism: Culture, Subjectivity and Agency, born out of that intensely introspective moment resonates with some telling observations and questions that you and I have always wanted to voice, but perhaps never quite found the nerve to do so.

The book with its exhaustive bibliography is immensely valuable not just for academic scholars and researchers, but for literary historians, culture critics, writers, artists and actors who wish to understand how, or why, the ‘Absent Presence’ of the past casts a long shadow to the present, and how women and their agency make a difference.

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