Gender on Campus: Redefining Gender Identities at Jawaharlal Nehru University
An ethnographic study on the transformations in gendered identities of young women in India as they shift across contexts of home and university. (Download pdf)
This is the full title of the winning thesis of the 2016 IIAS National Master's Thesis Prize in Asian Studies, awarded last Thursday 2 March to Tarini Shipurkar for her thesis, written at the Institute of Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden University, May 2016, supervised by Dr Erik de Maaker.
Tarini won a three-month IIAS fellowship. Each year, IIAS awards this prize to encourage young academic talent to continue their research interest in Asia and help them with their next steps on this path. The fellowship can be used to to write a PhD project proposal or a research article.
The 2016 prize was announced last Thursday, 2 March 2017, by Nira Wickramasinghe, Chair of the IIAS Board and Professor of Modern South Asian Studies at Leiden University:
"Tarini Shipurkar’s thesis is an ethnographic study of the experiences of young women studying at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, a university which is at present the target of Hindu nationalist forces in India. Through this case study in a single site, the thesis explores gender, space, urban life, youth, and identity, all themes of wider significance in the study of South Asia and Asia more broadly. Shipurkar finds that for women from widely varying class, ethnic, and regional backgrounds across India, in contrast to their more ambivalent or negative perceptions of Delhi as unsafe for women, JNU is a kind of exceptional space. Here, many female students can reinvent and reimagine themselves away from home through their everyday practices, comportment, political engagement and mobility, albeit in temporally and spatially circumscribed ways".
"The strength of the thesis resides in my view in the analysis of the embodied practices as well as the utterances. The thesis offers a measured and subtle reading of the fluidity between the mutliple social worlds these women inhabit". - Prof. Nira Wickramasinghe, Leiden University.
This year, the Jury assed 15 submitted theses, and shortlisted three of them for the festive announcement and award ceremony last week. Prof. Wickramasinghe also praised the other two shortlisted thesis as most deserving and impressive as well. She concurred with the Jury that they, too, certainly exhibit the "qualities mentioned in Umberto Eco's famous little book How to write a thesis" of "critical thinking, resourcefulness, creativity, attention to detail, and academic pride and humility". They are:
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