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IRC19 - Proposed Session - #LoSHAandWhatFollowed

Details of a session proposed by Anannya Chatterjee, Arunima Singh, Bhanu Priya Gupta, Renu Singh, and Rhea Bose for the Internet Researchers' Conference 2019 - #List.

 

Internet Researchers' Conference 2019 - #List - Call for Sessions


Session Plan

In an attempt to initiate a conversation around #LoSHA, a group of more than twenty students of Ambedkar University, Delhi, organised a series of events in April 2018, under the campaign ‘Questioning The Silence’. While the primary focus of the initiative was to point to the cultures of sexual harassment in academia, concerns were also raised around the immediate reception of the LoSHA. What the crowdsourced LoSHA by Raya Sarkar, a law student and an Ambedkarite feminist, triggered were a series of responses, including the Kafila statement; the second list which was made public on Facebook under the pseudonym Malati Kumari, and later deleted; followed by other lists and sexual harassment accusations in different workspaces; institutional backlash, as the LoSHA accused ‘trusted’ men in positions of power in academic spaces. Many also questioned the credentials of the list or chose to remain silent altogether.

Coming from an experience of institutionally engaging with the #LoSHA through the #questionthesilence campaign, we propose to conduct a session that seeks to theorize the ‘list’ as a document, the particularity of its form, and list as a medium and a message. What goes into the making of a list, and what are the kind of subjectivities produced through it? How does social media as an internet platform, in the preparation and circulation of the list, determine the discourses that emerge from it? Further, we want to explore the various possibilities of solidarity networks and feminist practices that have emerged post-LoSHA. Given the possibilities of new intimacies and relationships that liberal spaces open up, how have the debates around the LoSHA questioned the contemporary feminist understanding of sexual harassment and violation in these spaces? How has the existing imagination of gender justice been challenged by the LoSHA?

In an attempt to address these questions, we propose a session with three components. The first part will be a paper presentation which will theoretically engage with the concept of a list. It will explore whether ‘list’ as a medium can define the message, and perhaps mark its limits. It will critically engage with the LoSHA in the larger background of #MeToo with respect to questions around scope for subjectivity in list-making, its potential in questioning power and the ‘due process’ in place, politics around its making, and some of its limitations in addressing the issue of sexual harassment. The second part entails a curated panel discussion with the session organizers as panelists, wherein we will thematically engage with the responses to the #LoSHA, as crowdsourced through our social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter in the month of December. Speaking about the shortcomings of our past engagement, we see a need to approach the LoSHA from different vantage points. The third part of the session will be a poster exhibition, partly curated during the campaign itself, that seeks to demonstrate the kind of problematic remarks normalised under the garb of progressive pedagogy in liberal academic spaces.

Session Team

Anannya Chatterjee is a trained Bharatnatyam dancer, a Hindustani classical singer and a theatre artist. She is a part of Sar-e-raahguzar, an endeavour to talk about love, resistance, hate crimes and freedom on the streets by employing the art forms she practices. She holds a Masters degree in Gender Studies from Ambedkar University, Delhi, and has written her Masters’ dissertation titled Love, Passion, Peril: A Feminist Understanding of Abuse in Heterosexual Romantic relationships in India. She has also been a member of Pinjra Tod - Break the Hostel Locks, and believes in bringing together her art with her feminist politics.

Arunima Singh holds a Bachelors deree in History form Lady Shri Ram College for Women, and a Masters degree in Gender Studies from Ambedkar University, Delhi. She has worked as a freelance writer, model, game show host, and is currently working with Swiggy in Sales and Accounts Management. She is a member of Pinjra Tod - Break the Hostel Locks. She also plans to one day follow her dream of becoming the Jon Stewart of India. She worked on the figure of Bharat Mata for her MA thesis titled: Clothing Womanhood - meanings of modesty and tradition: from colonial modernity to the contemporary, and wishes to work on studying and deconstructing the discourses around oppression and modesty in her future studies.

Bhanu Priya Gupta is an M.Phil. student in Women and Gender Studies at Ambedkar University, Delhi, and Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS), who has been invested in issues of gender, sexuality and mental health. She has previously worked with Indian Social Institute on social conflict among dalit women in rural Haryana. She is a freelance facilitator on gender, violence and identity formation, with People for Parity, and has conducted gender and capacity building workshops in urban and rural Rajasthan with adolescent school children, middle-aged women and village stakeholders. She has also attended training programmes on gender, sexuality and rights, at Crea and TARSHI. She is currently working on physical disability, sexuality and the emergence of disability life writing in India.

Renu Singh is a doctoral candidate in Women and Gender Studies Program at Ambedkar University, Delhi, and Centre for Women’s Development Study (CWDS). She holds an M.Phil. degree in Public Health from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her interdisciplinary training has allowed her to work in the development sector for eight years, while she has also been associated with sexual harassment complaints committees at some of the academic institutions she has been a part of. She is involved with the women’s movement for almost 15 years, especially in Delhi, on issues around social reproduction, affect and care, gender & sexuality, intimacy, love and interpersonal lives. She has also been involved in student politics and is an active member of New Socialist Initiative (NSI) and Stree Mukti Sangathan. She is currently working on higher education, young women’s aspirations and interpersonal ties in the backdrop of liberalization.

Rhea Bose did her Bachelors in Political Science from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, and holds a Masters’ degree in Gender Studies from Ambedkar University, Delhi. Until recently, she was working at Centre for Social Research, Delhi. Her interest in the field of gender has manifested in different ways, including participation in the Indian Association of Women’s Studies (IAWS) where she presented a paper on women in global politics, conducting workshops on gender sensitization in schools as a part of an initiative called Khalbali.

 

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