In Their Own Words
Mrinalini Sebastian
WRITING RESISTANCE: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE SELECTED NOVELS BY WOMEN WRITERS by Usha Bande Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, 2007, 293 pp., 350
May 2007, volume 31, No 5

An important task for all those interested in tracking the trajectory of Women’s Studies in India would be to undertake a review of the many different discourses on women generated by feminist scholarship, women’s activism and the institutionalization of Women’s Studies. It will also be important to trace the movement of concepts such as ‘patriarchy’, ‘agency’ and ‘resistance’ across different institutional and disciplinary boundaries. Though we are aware of the close relationship between feminist scholarship and the women’s movement, we have not fully understood the extent to which these critical terms are being used today as part of accepted idioms for discussions in disciplines such as literary studies. Usha Bande’s Writing Resistance can provide a good starting point for such a study because it reminds us of the possible disjuncture between the language of feminism and the language of literary analysis inspired by feminism.

In spite of the constant effort by feminist scholars to contextualize critical thinking on women’s issues and relate academic discourse to the lived realities of women in India, there is often a perception that ‘feminism’ is a western concept. The most important contributions to feminist scholarship in India are unfazed by allegations about being influenced by western concepts and do not find it necessary to counter them. Most of the scholars

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