Tag Archives: Kapur

Happy IWD! Kapur (yesterday) on slutwalks and chaddis, Mossman and Luxton launch (soon) Reconsidering Knowledge

Osgoode Genest and IFLS visitor Ratna Kapur spoke on IWD-eve (obviously this should be a real thing, right? )from her forthcoming paper Pink Chaddis and SlutWalk Couture: The Postcolonial Politics of Feminism Lite.  A great talk which wrapped critical approaches with a touch of real optimism.  The piece links campaigns which developed out of the remarks made by police (both official and unofficial police of female behaviour, in fact) in India (Kapur provides this example: People are turning out to be more fashionable …..all these things they provoke; provoke these types of things [rape] which are not in the control of the police. …When you are taking food which gives you good josh (urges), you tend to be more naughty”.  Within minutes of these words being uttered by the Director General of Police (DGP) of Andhra Pradesh, a state in southeastern India, in late 2011, they were posted on youtube and provoked an avalanche of protest.”  (citations removed) and in Toronto – actually at Osgoode (see our post here and for more on the Pink Chaddi’s campaign, see here or here).

Kapur asks

Do the SlutWalk marches and Pink Chaddi campaigns represent the coming of age of feminism? Or do they signal feminism’s final demise?

and she encourages us to consider the possibility that:

These are not revolutionary moments, but hold within them powerful critiques of dominant feminist positions and operate as space clearing mechanisms for other analytical possibilities to emerge.

Kapur argues in this work that, in the Indian context:

The limitations of an exclusive focus on gender, victimisation, and a universalised Indian women’s identity gradually began to undermine the feminist movement.

These critiques expose deep fissures within the feminist ranks and the moralistic and essentialist understandings of gender which underpin a victim-centred analysis. There is no question that women have struggled as victims to subvert power – yet that power has not emanated from a single source – men. In the context of India, resistance to the colonial encounter was central to the experience of subordination for women on the Asian subcontinent. This history cannot be understood simply in terms of the history of gender subordination or sexual violence perpetrated by men against women. It was also about the broader economic and political subordination and expropriation of another nation’s labour, resources, land, raw materials and market, and the exclusion of the native – both men and women – from sovereignty and legal entitlements.

In this context, the Pink Chaddis campaign, and the Slutwalks can be seen as

…. techniques of critique, not only of dominant attitudes towards women’s sexuality, but also of some segments of the feminist movement’s complicity  in reinforcing a sexually-sanitised understanding of female subjectivity. These campaigns mark, at one and the same time, the demise of a politics based on dominance feminism and the reincarnation of a politics of productive critique.

The full paper is coming in April from Feminist Legal Studies.   See here for more about Feminist Legal Studies and the CFP around the paper).

 The next IFLS event that we’d love to see you at will be the CFR/IFLS book launch of RECONSIDERING KNOWLEDGE, a project that was edited by Meg Luxton and Mary Jane Mossman.  The event will be held on Friday March 23, at 2pm.  Here’s a pdf flyer for circulation.

Reconsidering Knowledge: Feminism and the Academy (Fernwood 2012)

March 23, 2012, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.  FSCR (Founders 305)

How has feminist thinking shaped what we know? Emerging from the lecture series “Feminist Knowledge Reconsidered: Feminism and the Academy,” held at York University in 2009, Reconsidering Knowledge examines current ideas about feminism in relation to knowledge, education and society, and the future potential for feminist research and teaching in the university context. Connecting early stories of women who defied their exclusion from knowledge creation to contemporary challenges for feminism in universities, this collection assesses how feminist knowledge has influenced dominant thinking and transformed teaching and learning. It also focuses on the challenges for feminism as corporatization redefines the role of universities in a global world. The essays reflect on both historical and contemporary themes from a diversity of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, but are united in their exploration of how feminism’s continuing contribution to knowledge remains significant, even fundamental, to the transformation of knowledge in the academy and in our world.


Introduction (Mary Jane Mossman and Meg Luxton) • Part One: Feminism and the Academy: Revealing the “Other” • Feminism and the Academy: Transforming Knowledge? (Meg Luxton) • Cartographies of Knowledge and Power: Transnational Feminism as Radical Praxis (M. Jacqui Alexander & Chandra Talpade Mohanty) • Sexual Diversity in Cosmopolitan Perspective (Elisabeth Young-Bruehl) • Part Two: Feminism and the Academy: (Re)Engaging the “Knowledge Revolution” • Universities Upside Down: The Impact of the New Knowledge Economy (Margaret Thornton) • The University on-the-Ground: Reflections on the Canadian Experience (Janice Newson) • Part Three: Feminism and the Academy: Remembering History/ Recalling Resistance • Bluestockings and Goddesses: Writing Feminist Cultural History (Ann Shteir) • Feminism, Ecological Thinking and the Legacy of Rachel Carson (Lorraine Code) •


Joined with the book launch is the launch of the “Timeline of York Women’s Studies History to 2011” project, directed by Rusty Shteir (who is also a contributor to the book).

SlutWalk, theorised: Feminist Legal Studies CFP & Ratna Kapur at Osgoode (Mar 7)

Prof Emily Grabham from Kent  just sent me this CFP from Feminist Legal Studies (she is the Editor-in-Chief) on “Theorising SlutWalk: Critical Feminist Perspectives” (deadline Sept. 30, 2012, complete call (pdf)  here).

Feminist Legal Studies is pleased to publish Ratna Kapur’s article Pink Chaddis and SlutWalk Couture: The Postcolonial Politics of Feminism Lite in our upcoming issue: 20(1). [i will update with when/where you can get this article! – sl] Kapur deftly analyses the postcolonial feminist politics of the Indian SlutWalk and Pink Chaddi movements…..

In dominant narratives circulating about SlutWalk, the marches began after a police officer made comments at Osgoode Hall Law School in January 2011 that women could avoid sexual assault by not dressing ‘like sluts’. Nevertheless, SlutWalks rearticulate a range of contextually specific feminist concerns that pre-date and transcend this apparently North American ‘genesis’. Moreover, SlutWalk organising has been critiqued for ignoring dynamics of colonialism, as well as institutionalised violence against women/queers of colour, and against low-income women and queers.

Papers are invited which analyse these developments within the usual FLS guidelines, which are reproduced below. Authors are encouraged, but not required, to draw on or respond to Ratna Kapur’s arguments.

Lucky Osgoode, we get a kind of a name check (?) in the CFP and  Ratna Kapur arrives here for as a Genest Global Visitor on March 5th and will be giving a talk based on the paper that Emily mentions on Wednesday March 7th 1230-2 in room 2001.

Join us! But please RSVP at this site using event code: GENEST2. More information: 

Slutwalk Couture: The Politics of Feminism Lite

Genest Global Lecture
Co-sponsored with IFLS

 Ratna Kapur, Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations

Ratna Kapur is a faculty member of the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Geneva. She was a Coca-Cola World Fund Faculty Fellow at Yale Law School in 2010. She practised law for a number of years in New Delhi, and now teaches and publishes extensively on issues of international law, human rights, feminist legal theory and postcolonial theory. She was the Senior Gender Advisor with the UN Mission in Nepal during the transition period from 2007-2008. She has also been a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University and Harvard Law School. She has held a distinguished Chair in Human Rights at Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, as well as the Endowed Joseph C. Hostetler-Baker and Hostetler Chair in Law at Cleveland Marshal School of Law. Professor Kapur also works as a legal consultant on issues of human rights and international law for various organizations. Her latest books include “Erotic Justice: Law and the New Politics of Postcolonialism”(Cavendish, 2005) and “Makeshift Migrants: Gender, Belonging and Postcolonial Anxieties” (Routledge, 2010″).

If you are interested in what appeared on this blog about SlutWalk and the triggering incident, click here for the first post, here for the second, and here for the rest. Loads of links! Student commentary! Very few pictures!