The South Asian Studies Council presents:
Srila Roy, University of Witwatersrand: “Changing the self, changing the world: women development workers in Eastern India.”
The overarching theme of this talk is self-transformation – how individuals transform themselves in and through the practice of development, and how development can engender a range of affective, aesthetic and ethical transformations at the subjective and potentially, social level. I draw on the experience of rural development workers - poor, semi-literate, mostly Scheduled Caste women who were interpellated into the world of ‘NGOised’ feminist activism as ‘volunteers’ and ‘caseworkers’. Their subjectivities were informed as much by the practices of local and transnational feminism as they were by neoliberal development. While enlarging the scope of personal transformation in rural women in unprecedented ways, these subjectivities also laid bare some of the tensions and ambivalences of projects of self-making, especially in neoliberal times. I further consider in what ways self-transformation might entail, if any, social transformation.