New Directions in South Asian Women's Writing

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787). This special issue belongs to the section "Literature in the Humanities".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 September 2023) | Viewed by 11012

Special Issue Editor

Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI 54701, USA
Interests: postcolonial literature and theory; postcolonial and transnational feminisms; postcolonial women’s literature

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the 1980s and 1990s, South Asian literary studies largely favored a nation-centered approach. This in turn made possible the canonicity of male authors over female ones and excluded significant South Asian women writers who had a much more ambivalent relationship with the nation-state. However, in more recent years, important interventions in critical theory and feminist studies are finally giving South Asian women writers a home of their own. Edited collections such as Emerging South Asian Women Writers: Essays and Interviews (2015); Teaching Anglophone South Asian Women Writers (2021); and Women Writers of the South Asian Diaspora: Interpreting Gender, Texts, and Contexts (2020) are recent examples that attempt to engage with this rich and diverse body of literature. Our Special Issue will make a significant contribution to this emerging body of scholarship. By foregrounding contemporary modes of inquiry including but not limited to transnational, critical race, queer, and affect studies, our collected essays will tease out the intersectional nuances of popular as well as marginalized texts authored by South Asian women writers. Consequently, we anticipate that this Special Issue will make an important intervention in the study of a literature that dates back to 600 B.C. We invite submissions on women authors, both medieval and modern, from all parts of South Asia and its diaspora. Contributors should use the Chicago manual of style to format their submissions.

Bibliography 

* Emerging South Asian Women Writers: Essays and Interviews.* Eds. Feroza Jussawalla and Deborah Weagal. Peter Lang, 2015.
* Teaching Anglophone South Asian Women Writers.* eds. Deepika Bhari and Filippo Menozzi. Mla, 2021.
* Women Writers of the South Asian Diaspora: Intepreting Gender, Texts and Contexts.* eds. Ajay K. Chaubey and Shilpa Bhat. Rawat, 2020.

Please send an abstract (approximately 300 words) and a brief bio along with your manuscript at the time of submission.

Dr. Asha Sen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information 

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Keywords

  • South Asia
  • women
  • diaspora
  • writers
  • feminism

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 235 KiB  
Article
‘Currying Identities’: A Literary Re-Crafting of South-Asian Identities through Diasporic Women’s Cookbooks
Humanities 2024, 13(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/h13010022 - 24 Jan 2024
Viewed by 534
Abstract
Food has been an enduring presence in the construction of collective identities of migrant communities. From honing cooking techniques and selecting ingredients and tools to developing cultures of consumption and appreciation, diasporic communities seem to hold food as one of the primary markers [...] Read more.
Food has been an enduring presence in the construction of collective identities of migrant communities. From honing cooking techniques and selecting ingredients and tools to developing cultures of consumption and appreciation, diasporic communities seem to hold food as one of the primary markers of identity. Women writers from the diaspora not only emblematized their identities by writing about food but also opened feminist methodological opportunities for writing resistance. These ‘culinary fictions’ have since been mined to delve into the gendering of migrant identities. The genre of cookbooks shares a significant overlap with ‘culinary fiction’ in terms of its scope by stabilizing ‘authentic’ identities. However, it surgically punctures the romantic appeal of food imagination, shifting its focus instead to the labor that produces the sensory stimulation of culinary memory. This article uses this overlap and this gap as incentives to read select cookbooks published in the heydays of culinary fiction. Reading cookbooks against the metrics of labor provides a certain intimacy of engagement that offers entry into complex negotiations of uncertain migrant identities. Affective labor and its postcolonial entanglements have been used as catalysts in the article to read into the multilayered understanding of the politics of women writing about food in the diaspora. To this extent, it will challenge the stabilized ways of reading culinary identities and open food writing to more robust negotiations of gendered writings of food. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Directions in South Asian Women's Writing)
14 pages, 284 KiB  
Article
Ecology of the ‘Other’: A Posthumanist Study of Easterine Kire’s When the River Sleeps (2014)
Humanities 2024, 13(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/h13010019 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 647
Abstract
In Posthuman Ecology, anthropocentrism, based on the binary division between the privileged human and the ‘other’, gets deconstructed, leading to an acknowledgment of humans as essentially tangled in an intricate web of the natural world. In such ecologies, boundaries between the human and [...] Read more.
In Posthuman Ecology, anthropocentrism, based on the binary division between the privileged human and the ‘other’, gets deconstructed, leading to an acknowledgment of humans as essentially tangled in an intricate web of the natural world. In such ecologies, boundaries between the human and the more-than-human (non-human) worlds become porous, creating fluid identities and conditions of being within a framework of active interplay between the human and the non-human world. The ecology of folktales is replete with Posthumanism, as their narratives consistently break the unbridgeable gap between the human, non-human, and the spiritual and/or supernatural worlds and present certain non-naturalist ontologies that are mostly at odds with naturalism or modern empirical science. Such tales provided much-needed templates for sustainable development in the time of the Anthropocene. This paper attempts to study Easterine Kire’s When the River Sleeps (2014) as a posthumanist narrative where Vilie (a hunter) goes on a fantastical journey to find a fabled magical stone from the bottom of the ‘sleeping river’. Vilie’s journey comes out as a playground for both mundane and fantastic elements. He grows as a human being, and this happens as he transacts with the non-human and the supernatural world and comes across deep metaphysical questions and presents keys to understanding balance-in-transcendence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Directions in South Asian Women's Writing)
18 pages, 946 KiB  
Article
Dystopian Bildungsroman: Rasa, Emotions, and Identity in Priya Sarukkai Chabria’s Clone (2018)
Humanities 2023, 12(6), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12060145 - 10 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1124
Abstract
Bildungsroman is a genre that concerns the formation of individual identity and particularly focuses on the moral and psychological growth of the protagonist in a novel. This article aims to analyze the bildungsroman process in a dystopian context, primarily focusing on the significance [...] Read more.
Bildungsroman is a genre that concerns the formation of individual identity and particularly focuses on the moral and psychological growth of the protagonist in a novel. This article aims to analyze the bildungsroman process in a dystopian context, primarily focusing on the significance of emotions in the dystopian society of Clone (2018) by Priya Sarukkai Chabria. This study scrutinizes the emotive structure of the novel based on two kinds of emotional movements: firstly, the psychic and textual movement of emotions is explored using Bharata’s rasa theory and, secondly, the spatial significance of emotions in social spaces is probed through phenomenological inquiry into the anatomy of shared emotions in the text. Through this theoretical approach, this article addresses the following questions: (a) How does a dystopian context problematize the identity formation of the protagonist in Clone? (b) How does the dystopian genre treat emotions in its structure and how instrumental are they to the identity formation of the bildungsheld in the selected novel? (c) How does Chabria manifest rasa theory and emotional movement in the structure of the novel? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Directions in South Asian Women's Writing)
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16 pages, 333 KiB  
Article
Malignant Care: Affects and Labor in Anita Nair’s Ladies Coupé (2001)
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050110 - 28 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1031
Abstract
Anita Nair’s Ladies Coupé (2001) is about six women who meet in an express train’s compartment in southern India. One of these women, Akhila, is the narrator of the novel, while we hear the voices of the other women only when they narrate [...] Read more.
Anita Nair’s Ladies Coupé (2001) is about six women who meet in an express train’s compartment in southern India. One of these women, Akhila, is the narrator of the novel, while we hear the voices of the other women only when they narrate their stories in first person to Akhila. The way the women tell these stories one by one is in the spirit of empowering Akhila, who is portrayed as a woman bound within heteronormative ideas of coupledom and gender-based expectations of care labor within patriarchal families. The women also encourage her, by example, to question the accepted ethical model of feminist practice within an already unethical patriarchal structure of society. This encouragement happens, I argue, as they recount instances of the self-acknowledged unethical care practices through which they have affectively resisted different forms of violence within the upper caste, patriarchal, heteronormative family structure. These forms of violence are intersectional as they are based on overlapping identities of caste, age, and gender. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Directions in South Asian Women's Writing)
14 pages, 262 KiB  
Article
Form Poetry and the Pandemic
Humanities 2023, 12(5), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12050107 - 26 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1225
Abstract
This article looks at a set of anglophone form poetry that I wrote for a course I took while pursuing my master’s degree in Gender Studies at Ambedkar University, Delhi (2019–2021), during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India. The poems [...] Read more.
This article looks at a set of anglophone form poetry that I wrote for a course I took while pursuing my master’s degree in Gender Studies at Ambedkar University, Delhi (2019–2021), during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India. The poems are a documentation of the life that I lived and experienced during this time. Using an auto-ethnographic method, this article simultaneously engages with poetic forms, such as the haiku, villanelle, sestina, and acrostic, and provides a self-reflexive analysis of the content and the South Asian context from which the poems emerged. Each poem, I argue, grapples with various gendered structures of interpersonal and state violence, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown that followed in its wake. In this article, I explore the ways in which the everydayness of violence can be documented through art and creative practices. My primary question is: What is the form of the poem doing for the content of the poem; that is, in what ways do certain poetic forms assist in the documentation of personal experiences of violence during a pandemic? This article explores the political possibilities offered by the method of writing form poetry as a documentation of violence, as well as providing a ‘witness’ to it. Thinking more about the role of producing art vis-à-vis my academic research, I further ask: How can we expand the scope of the feminist research methods we use, and what role might form poetry play in this? I situate this article at the intersection of South Asian Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Literary and Cultural Studies, particularly focusing on the South Asian anglophone poetics of the written word in a post-pandemic time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Directions in South Asian Women's Writing)
13 pages, 231 KiB  
Article
South Asian COVID-19 Memoirs: Mourning and Erasure of “Grievable Lives”
Humanities 2023, 12(4), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/h12040062 - 11 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1810
Abstract
This article analyzes how narratives about the COVID-19 pandemic are beginning to memorialize lives lost in the crisis. It juxtaposes the author’s personal experience of the loss of family members with emerging memoirs by South Asian women to explore the diversity of genres [...] Read more.
This article analyzes how narratives about the COVID-19 pandemic are beginning to memorialize lives lost in the crisis. It juxtaposes the author’s personal experience of the loss of family members with emerging memoirs by South Asian women to explore the diversity of genres like the lyric essay and the graphic memoir that memorialize lives lost to COVID-19. While acknowledging that the current pandemic and its effects are far from over, the essay argues that these memoirs are a conscious attempt to mourn and thereby restore the humanity of lives robbed of traditional acts of remembrance due to the isolation and bureaucracy of laws governing COVID-19 deaths and funerals. These texts by Barkha Dutt, Kay Sohini, and Jhumpa Lahiri are exceptional because the great majority of deaths during this time have been consigned to erasure, lack of documentation, or censorship. These texts are resisting the dominant trend to leave the pandemic behind and resume normal lives. By committing to grief instead of a facile recuperation, these memoirs are not just charting a private path of healing but also transforming private grief into a statement of shared suffering and solidarity, even when the pandemic has affected individuals differently based on stratifications of race, class, and privilege. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Directions in South Asian Women's Writing)
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