Transnational Feminisms

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSLS2SC2104

Semester and Year Offered: 2nd and 4th semesters. Winter Semester

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Niharika Banerjea

Email of course coordinator:niharikab[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: None

Aim: This course will introduce students to select theories, practices and research around transnational feminisms. The key attempt is to understand the desire, need and practice for and of cross-border research and activisms. The course operates with the term cross-border as both a geographical category as well as a term to indicate differences across gender, sex, caste, class, race, religion within national territories. Together, we will discuss the historical as well the contemporary contexts within which scholars, activists and scholar-activists understand, critique and act upon inequalities around gender and sexuality as they are produced through intersecting inequalities around class, race, caste, nation and religion. Along the way, we will also look at the practices, possibilities and challenges surrounding cross-border solidarities and alliances.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Students will have developed a critical awareness about the question of difference and collaboration.
  2. Students will be able to situate intersecting inequalities around gender, sexuality, race, class, caste, religion within critiques of colonialism, global capitalism, nationalism.
  3. Students will be able to the link between social justice concerns and cross-border alliances.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module 1: A brief about feminisms and sociology

This module aims to understand some key concerns in feminist scholarship and activisms, especially in and around the context of India. Along the way, we will note how feminism emerges as a response to the particularities of universalizing discourses embedded in imperial and post-colonial states and communities, as well as explore the links between transnational feminism and sociology.

Module 2: ‘Global sisterhood’ and its critique

This module undertakes a brief overview of international/global feminisms and liberal feminisms and arrives at a critique of that through the writings of women of color academic-activists in the United States. Such critique emerges from within the institutional spaces of the academia and the collective spaces of grassroots movements to question the silences of the ‘global sisterhood’ discourse.

Module 3: When are feminisms transnational or when is a feminist response transnational?

The contested nature of ‘transnational’ is elaborated in this module. A range of writings is engaged with to understand how the transnational emerges through imperatives to understand the differential effects of scattered colonialisms, neoliberalisms and homonationalisms. Contexts across the United States and India (among others) are engaged with in an attempt to (dis)locate hegemonic narratives.

Module 4: Transnational feminist organizing, navigations, and movements

This module discusses examples of feminist organizing to understand how collectives respond to the effects of colonialisms, neoliberalisms and homonationalims across contexts, and engage with differential locations in the process.

Module 5: Transnational feminist collaboration and praxis

Collaborations across academic and activist spaces, including their methodological premises and challenges are discussed in this module. The selected texts help understand how one can ‘do’ transnational research that is more than reflexive research.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • In-class participation = 20%
  • Group presentation = 20%
  • Review paper = 30%
  • Term paper = 30%

Reading List:

  • Patil, Vrushali. 2011. “Transnational Feminism in Sociology: Articulations, Agendas, Debates.” Sociology Compass 5/7: 540-550.
  • Menon, Nivedita. 2009. “Sexuality, Caste, Governmentality: Contests over “Gender” in India.” Feminist Review 91: 94-112.
  • Chatterjee, Angana P. 2012. “Witnessing as Feminist Intervention in India-Administered Kashmir.” Ania Loomba and Ritty A. Lukose eds. South Asian Feminisms. Zubaan: New Delhi: 181-201.
  • Sen, Rukmini. 2014. "Mapping Women’s Activism in India.” Resistances, reforms and (re)-creation." Routledge Handbook of Gender in South Asia. Routledge: London and New York: 333-346.
  • Morgan, Robin. 1996. “Introduction: Planetary Feminism: The Politics of the 21st Century.” Robin Morgan ed. Sisterhood is Global: The International Women’s Movement Anthology. New York: The Feminist Press: 1-37.
  • Audre Lorde. 1984. “Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference.” Sister Outsider. Berkeley: Crossing Press: 114-123.
  • Grewal, Inderpal & Caren Kaplan. 1994. “Introduction.” Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan ed. Scattered Hegemonies: Postmodernity and Transnational Feminist Practices: 1-36.
  • Alexander, M. Jacqui and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. 1997. “Introduction: Genalogies, Legacies, Movements.” M. Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Talpade Mohanty eds. Feminist Genalogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures. New York: Routledge: xiii-xliii.
  • Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 1991. “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses.” Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press: 51-80.
  • Narayan, Uma. 1997. “Cross-Cultural Connections, Border-Crossings, and ‘Death by Culture’: Thinking about Dowry-Murders in India and Domestic-Violence Murders in the US.” Dislocating Cultures: Identities, Traditions, and Third World Feminism. New York: Routledge: 81-118.
  • Puar, Jasbir. 2007. “Preface”, “Introduction: Homonationalism and Biopolitics” and “Conclusion” in Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Durham: Duke University Press: Ix-xxviii; 1-36 and 204-222.
  • Banerjea, Niharika and Debanuj Dasgupta. 2013. “States of Desire: Homonationalism and LGBT Activism in India.” Sanhati, June 6 2013
  • Puar, Jasbir. 2017. “Preface,” and “Introduction: The Cost of Getting Better” in The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability. Durham: Duke University Press: x-xxiv and 1-31.
  • Naples, Nancy. 2002. “Changing the Terms Community Activism, Globalization and the Dilemmas of Transnational Feminist Praxis”. Nancy Naples and Manisha Desai ed. Women’s Activism and Globalization: Linking Local Struggles and Transnational Politics. New York and London: Routledge: 3-14.
  • Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 2006. “Sisterhood, Coalition, and the Politics of Experience” and “Women Workers and the Politics of Solidarity.” Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. New Delhi: Zubaan: 106‐23 and 139-168.
  • Deo, Nandini. 2012. “Indian Women Activists and Transnational Feminism over the Twentieth Century.” Journal of Women’s History. 24(4): 149-174.
  • Mahanta, Upasana. 2012. “Transnational Activism and Dalit Women’s Movement in India.” Hedi Moksnes and Mia Melin eds. Global Civil Society: Shifting Powers in a Shifting World. Uppsala: Uppsala University Press: 140-148.
  • Halim Chowdhury, Elora. 2015. “From Dhaka to Cincinnati: Charting Transnational Narratives of Trauma, Victimization, and Survival.” In Contesting Feminisms: Gender and Islam in Asia. Ed. by Huma Ahmed Ghosh. Albany: SUNY Press: 207-225.
  • Carty, Linda E. and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. 2015. “Mapping Transnational Feminist Engagements: Neoliberalism and the Politics of Solidarity.” Rawwida Baksh and Wendy Harcourt ed. The Oxford Handbook of Transnational Feminist Movements. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 99-132.
  • Kazi, Seema. 2015. “South Asia’s Gendered “Wars on Terror.” Rawwida Baksh and Wendy Harcourt ed. The Oxford Handbook of Transnational Feminist Movements. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 668-696.
  • Shah, Svati P. 2012. “Sex workers’ rights and women’s movements in India: A Very Brief Genealogy.” Srila Roy ed. New South Asian Feminisms. London, New York: Zed Books: 27-43
  • Chakravarty, Debjani. 2015. “On Being and Providing “Data”’: Politics of Transnational Feminist Collaboration and Academic Division of Labour. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Volume 36.3, winter 2015.
  • Sangtin Writers and Richa Nagar. 2006. “Introduction”, “The Beginnings of a Collective Journey”, “Challenges of NGOization and Dreams of Sangtin” and “Postscript: NGOs, Global Feminisms, and Collaborative Border Crossings”. Playing with Fire: Feminist Thought and Activism through Seven Lives in India. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press: XXI-XXLVII, 3-14, 110-155.
  • Bacchetta, Paola and Marcelle Maese-Cohen. 2010. “Decolonial Praxis: Enabling Intranational and Queer Coalition Building.” Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences. 18(2): 147-192.
  • Browne, Kath, Niharika Banerjea, 2017. Towards Transnational Feminist Queer Methodologies, Gender, Place & Culture, 24:10, 1376-1397.
  • Amrita Chhachhi and Sunila Abeysekera. 2015. “Forging a New Political Imaginary: Transnational Southasian Feminisms” in Rawwida Baksh and Wendy Harcourt ed. The Oxford Handbook of Transnational Feminist Movements. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 553-577.


  • Chandra, Meghna. 2016. “Freedom to Dissent: From Delhi to Ferguson.” The Hampton Institute.
  • Dhrobo Jyoti. 2017. “Being a Queer Dalit and the Assertion of Dalit Identities in Pride Marches.” Feminism in India.
  • Ramgopal, Ankita. 2018. “Gender Neutral Rape Laws: What About the Transgenders.” The Leaflet.
  • EPW Engage. 2018. “Personal Laws vs. Gender Justice: Will a Uniform Civil Code Solve the Problem.”
  • Chowdhury, Romit and Zaid Al Baset. 2015. “Men Doing Feminism in India: An Introduction”. Economic and Political Weekly, Volume L, No. 20: 29-32.
  • Bhambra, Gurminder. 2015. “Postcolonial and Decolonial Reconstructions.” Connected Sociologies. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014. 117–140. Bloomsbury Collections.
  • Lorde, Audre. 2003. “The Master’s Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” Reina Lewis and Sara Mills eds. Feminist Postcolonial Theory: A Reader. New York: Routledge: 25-28.
  • Rich, Adrienne. 2003. “Notes Toward a Politics of Location.” Reina Lewis and Sara Mills eds. Feminist Postcolonial Theory: A Reader. New York: Routledge: 29-42.
  • Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 2003. ‘”“Under Western Eyes” Revisited: Feminist Solidarity through Anticapitalist Struggles.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 2(2): 499-535.
  • John, Mary E. edited. 2008. Women’s Studies in India: A Reader. New Delhi: Penguin. Section on Caste and Tribe: 442-491.
  • Kim-Puri. 2005. “Conceptualizing Gender-Sexuality-State-Nation.” Gender and Society 19(2):137-159.
  • Menon, Nivedita. 2015. “Is Feminism about ‘Women’? A Critical View on Intersectionality from India.” Economic and Political Weekly. L(17): 37-44.
  • John, Mary E. 2015. “Intersectionality: Rejection or Critical Dialogue.” Economic and Political Weekly. L(33): 72-76.
  • Desai, Manisha. 2015. “Critical Cartography, Theories and Praxis of Transnational Feminisms.” Rawwida Baksh and Wendy Harcourt ed. The Oxford Handbook of Transnational Feminist Movements. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 116-130.
  • Moghadam, Valentine. 2015. “Transnational Feminist Activism and Movement Building.” Rawwida Baksh and Wendy Harcourt ed. The Oxford Handbook of Transnational Feminist Movements. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 53-81.
  • Grewal, Inderpal. 2005. “”Women’s Rights as Human Rights”: The Transnational Production of Global Feminist Subjects.” Transnational America: Feminisms, Diasporas, Neoliberalisms. Durham: Duke University Press. 121-157.
  • Nagar, Richa and Amanda Lock Swarr. 2010. “Theorizing Transnational Feminist Praxis.” Critical Transnational Feminist Praxis. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press: 1-22.
  • Alexander, M. Jacqui and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. 2010. “Cartographies of Knowledge and Power: Transnational Feminism as Radical Praxis.” Critical Transnational Feminist Praxis. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press: 23-45.