Workshop: Matter of Caste: Contemporary Dalit Realities, South Asia, and Diaspora

To register for the workshop:

A two day interactive workshop facilitated by Komal Mohite, Doctoral Candidate at McGill University. Her thesis analyzes the role of caste in the making of the working class in 19th century Bombay Presidency.

Matter of Caste: Contemporary Dalit Realities, South Asia, and Diaspora

***Day I: Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 7:30 PM- 9 PM***

Part I: Banality of Caste

Participants will be invited to observe and reflect upon the everyday expressions of caste, their meanings and markers, and the various modes of caste discrimination. The exercise will involve expressive writing, followed by a broader discussion in an effort to demystify caste practices, and offer insights into how different groups across gender and class experience caste in the sub-continent and within the diaspora.

Part II: Anti-Caste Politics and its Discontents

This session will involve a structured discussion on Annihilation of Caste by B.R. Ambedkar. Written by Ambedkar in 1936, Annihilation of Caste was meant to be a speech which Ambedkar was not allowed to deliver because of its provocative anti-caste content. The speech was ultimately published as a book solely due to Ambedkar’s determination, and it remains up to this day one of the most powerful critiques of the caste system. While we celebrate the enduring legacy of Annihilation of Caste as a political treatise, in this session, participants will have an opportunity to discuss the challenges in realizing anti-caste politics, and the erasure of caste within diasporic circles.

Book link:

***Day II: Wednesday 22nd June 2022, 7:30 PM to 9 PM***

Film Screening: The Discreet Charm of Savarnas (2020) by Rajesh Rajamani

Discussion of Selected Clips from the films Fandry (2013) by Nagrath Manjule and Pariyerum Perumal (2018) by Mari Selvaraj

In this session, we will discuss films by Dalit-Bahujan filmmakers that offer nuanced portrayals of Dalit lives, critique harmful caste-based stereotypes, and address the everyday forms of violence experienced by Dalits in South Asia.