The guest speakers, Devleena Ghosh and Jules Sturm, were asked to address aspect of bodies within hegemonic structures in their papers.
Paper 1. ‘Regular Visits to Purdah Baag: Creating the Modern Body in Early Twentieth Century India’
Devleena Ghosh addressed the period of the early twentieth century, when young female bodies was re-worked and re-conceptualised in colonial India. These identities and physiques became the bearers of stereotypes, inscribed with piety, domesticity, and honour, to be re-cast, re-made, reinvented. This presentation tells the story of an Australian theosophist who became the principal of the first girls’ school in Delhi and who used the tenets of theosophy and the international focus on female education to remake both the bodies and the minds of her Indian students. Ghosh argues that the spatiotemporal hierarchy of origin and destination of female emancipation whether in Britain, Australia, or India, should be seen in continuity with previous histories of biopolitical claim-making. To understand these politics, then, it is necessary to attend to both regional histories of claim-making and transnational histories of circulation. Click here to watch.
Prof. Devleena Ghosh teaches at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney. She has published widely in the fields of postcolonial, environmental, and gender studies
Paper 2. ‘The Paradox of Hegemonic Vulnerability in Reproductive Narratives’
In her paper, Jules Sturm aimed to expose and counter the construction of foetal vulnerability in the dominant cultural imaginary. An imaginary that is reinforced by the visualisation of foetal life through ultrasound imaging and is likely to reproduce an ableist, heteronormative, and moralising discourse of the as yet ‘unavailable’ life. With the help of queer and posthuman literary narratives of reproduction, she aims to highlight the possibilities of alternative reproductive imaginaries. Conceptions, which not only offer new ways of imagining unborn life beyond visuality, but also critically reflect on the potentially dangerous effects of a discourse of vulnerability in the figure of what Donna Haraway has called the 'biomedical public foetus' ('The Virtual Speculum,' 1997). Click here to watch.
Dr. Jules Sturm is an independent researcher based in Amsterdam and teaches at the Art Academy the “Sandberg Instituut” on critical theories of the body. Her background is in philosophy and gender studies, literary and cultural analysis.