National Seminar on Women's Autobiography in India: Theory and Practice
Department of English
Warangal, India-506 009
Call for Papers
A Two-Day National Seminar on
Women’s Autobiography in India: Theory and Practice
March 29-30, 2014
Women’s life narratives, a generic term for women’s autobiographies, memoirs and testimonios , has emerged as a genre, consequent to the postmodernist thrust on liberation discourse. Though these narratives blur genre boundaries, they depict the ‘I’ with a focus on the individual—notion of a private self—revealing a split between public and private self-representations. Violating the parameters of the canonical autobiography, they create testimonios of gender, caste, class and religion, and provide an alternative source of history. The works narrate the self vis-à-vis family, society and politics bearing witness to gendered subordination. Narrated in the first person, and the narrator being a protagonist or witness of the events recounted, the unity of the narration could be a significant personal experience. Primarily aimed at communicating the subordinated predicament, oppression, suppression and struggle for emancipation, these writings claim the agency, expecting the reader to respond and judge her predicament. Based on memory, experience and identity, women narrators reproduce the cultural modes of self narrating, simultaneously critiquing the status quo.
Life narratives generate new possibilities of being read. Whichever be the genre, women’s life narratives seek affirmation in the correcting mode. By bringing the personal life into public, women’s narratives challenge and articulate gender concerns vis-a-vis caste and religion. Therefore, they cannot be reduced to ‘narrations of pain and sorrow’ or ‘memories of a hateful life’ but go beyond these. They also have a bearing on research and pedagogy in that, the historical narrators of experience are a means of introducing counter views on gender. Life narratives perform the roles of projecting women’s triumphs and inducing guilt in the minds of oppressors by recounting how they were wronged. Reading woman’s life narratives without a political ideology stands the risk of making a spectacle of women’s suffering and pain. The narrations bring new insights into male dominant academic institutions, assuming importance in the construction of curriculum. The proposed seminar provides a platform for discussion of women’s life narratives to explore links between the historical devaluation of women, their writing practices, exclusion of their writing from the canon of traditional autobiographies, cultural biases in defining the selfhood, revising the prevailing concept of autobiography and other perspectives that the paper presenters can think of. Interested scholars may send in abstracts in 500 words in MS Word format.
Papers can focus on the following or any other research questions/issues:
Can women’s life writing be distinguished from that of male authors?
Why lives of woman narratives are important?
Can women remember and write differently?
How can this difference be historically located?
How do women articulate gender, caste, class and religion?
How do women narrators deconstruct their gendered selves?
How do women narrators re-construct their selves?
How do they recount the withdrawal of the self from the public domain?
How do they create new spaces for themselves?
What are the specific themes and sub-themes of women’s autobiographical narratives?
What do these narratives reveal about representation and identity?
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Keynote Speaker: Prof Susie Tharu, EFL University, Hyderabad
Valedictory Address: Dr K. Lalitha, Yugantar, Hyderabad
Plenary Speakers: Prof G. Thirupathi Kumar, EFL University, Hyderabad
MS Gita Ramaswamy, Hyderabad Book Trust
Dr H. Kalpana, Pondicherry University, Pondicherry
Dr Aparna Lanjewar Bose, EFL University, Hyderabad
Dr Murali Manohar, University of Hyderabad
Submission of Abstracts: 20th February, 2014
Acceptance will be conveyed by 25th February, 2014
Submission of Full Papers by 20th March, 2014
Note: TA and DA will be paid to invited speakers; paper presenters may arrange for their own TA and DA. However, local hospitality will be extended to all the participants.
Professor, Head and Coordinator, SAP
Director of the Seminar
B. Deepa Jyothi
Assistant Professor and Deputy Coordinator, SAP
Coordinator of the Seminar
Following are some of the texts on which proposal for papers can be considered:
1. Parikh et al, The Road Less Travelled: The Life and Writings of Vinodinee Neelkanth.
- Bina Das, Bina Das: A Memoir.
3. Cornelia Sorabji and Chandani Lokuge, India Calling: The Memories of Cornelia Sorabji, India's First Woman Barrister, OUP.
- Binodini Dasi, My Story and My Life as an Actress.
5. Devee Sunity, Autobiography of an Indian Princess: Memoirs of Maharani Sunity Devi of Cooch Behar, Univ. of Michigan, 1995.
6. Dhanvanthi Rama Rau, An Inheritance: The Memoirs of Dhanvanthi Rama Rau. Harper & Row, 1977.
7. Durgabai Deshmukh, Chintaman and I.
8. Elaine Williams Brinda (Maharani of Kapurthala), Maharani: The Story of an Indian Princess, Holt, 1954.
- G S. Datt, A Woman of India: Being the Life of Saroj Nalini.
- Gayatri Devi, A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur.
11. Hutheesing Krishna Nehru, With No Regrets: Krishna Hutheesing's Autobiography. Oxford Univ. Press, 1952.
- Indira Goswami, An Unfinished Autobiography.
- Jameela Nalini, The Autobiography of a Sex Worker.
- Jha Rama, Woman with a Mission - Rajkumari Amrit Kaur.
15. Kamala Das, My Story. Sterling Publishers, 1988.
16. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya, Inner Recesses, Outer Spaces: Memoirs, Univ. of Michigan, 1986.
- Kamalini Bhansali, My Karmabhoomi: Three Decades at SNDT Women's Univ..
- Kamla Chowdhry, In Service to Humanity: Kamla Chowdhry: A Loving Tribute to her Life and Spirit.
19. Kulkarni Dongerkery and Kamala Sunder rao , On the Wings of Time: An Autobiography. The Univ. of California, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
20. Malgonkar Manohar Scindia Vijayaraje, Princess: The Autobiography of the Dowager Maharani of Gwalior, 1988.
- Monica Felton, A Child Widow's Story.
- Mridula Sarabhai: Rebel with a Cause.
23. Mrinal Pande, Daughter's Daughter, Penguin.
24. Nanda Savitri Devi, The City of Two Gateways: An Indian Girl.
25. Nayantara Sahgal, From Fear set Free.
26. Nayantara Sahgal, Prison and Chocolate Cake, Knopf, 1954.
- Popati Hiranandani, The Pages of My Life: Autobiography and Selected Stories.
28. Prema Naidu, M, In Love with Life: Memoirs of a Lady Doctor, Sterling Publishers, 1990.
- Ramadevi Choudhuri, Into the Sun: An Autobiography.
- Rasika Chaube, An Inspirational Journey: Pratibha Devisingh Patil-the First Woman President of India.
31. Renuka Ray, My Reminiscences: Social Development During the Gandhian Era and After, Bhatkal & Sen, 2005.
32. Santha Rama Rau, Home to India, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1945.
- Sharanjeet. Shan’s In My Own Name.
34. Shobha De, Selective Memory: Stories from My Life, Penguin Books, 1998.
- Shrabani Basu, Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan.
- Sonia Faleiro, Beautiful Things: Inside the Secret World of Bombay's Dance Bars.
- Stree Shakti Sanghatana, We Were Making History: Women and the Telangana Uprising, London: Zed Books, 1989.
- Suresh Dalal, Harmony: Glimpses in the Life of Madhuri R. Shah.
39. Tara Ali Baig, Portraits of an Era, Roli Books.
40. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Prison Days, Northwestern Univ, Signet.
- Vijaylaxmi Pandit, The Scope of Happiness, 1979
41. Vimla Dang, Fragments of an Autobiography.
42. W.W. Sita Rathnamal, Beyond the Jungle: A Tale of South India, Blackwood, 1968.
Arnold, David and Stuart Blackburn (eds). Telling Lives in India: Biography, Autobiography, and Life History (Delhi, 2004).
Dalit Women Autobiographies
43. Baby Kamble, The Prisons We Broke. Trans Maya Pandit, Chennai: Orient Longman, 2008.
44. Bama, Karukku (1992), trans. Lakshmi Holmstrom, Chennai: Macmillan, 2000.
45. Bama, Sangati (1994), trans. Lakshmi Holmstrom. New Delhi: OUP, 2005.
46. Sumitra Bhave, Pan on Fire, trans. Gauri Deshpande, New Delhi: Indian Social Institute, 1988.
47. Viramma, Josain Racine, Jean Luc-Racine, Viramma; Life of an Untouchable, trans. Will Hobson. Paris: Verso, 1997.
48. Sivakami, A Grip Of Change. Orient Longman, 2006.Translated from Tamil by the author.
49. Urmila Pawar, The Weave of My Life: A Dalit Woman's Memoirs.