Events Calendar

The Rehumanization Project: Integrity of Dalit Feminist Earthiness
Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 12:00pm
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The Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies invites you to attend a virtual lecture.

The Rehumanization Project: Integrity of Dalit Feminist Earthiness pdfFlyer

presented by

Dr. Roja Singh
Visiting Assistant Professor 

St. John Fisher College
New York

Talk Abstract: This talk reflects Suganthy-Singh’s decades-long struggle to draw attention to the human rights abuses experienced by Dalit women and girls (in the ‘untouchable’ community) in India and abroad, and her current work with Dalit Lives Matter. Of interest, this discussion will resonate with other social justice events on campus, including those seeking to draw parallels between the practice of caste in India and racism (BLM) in the United States.

Short Bio: Roja Suganthy-Singh an Alum of Rutgers Singh teaches Interdisciplinary studies including Anthropology, Sociology and Women and Gender Studies at St. John Fisher College, Rochester, New York. Roja grew up in Chennai, South India and moved to the USA for further studies. She earned her PhD in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University, 2004. Her special areas of research, teaching and study include Dalit studies, and indigenous studies, with a focus on intersections of gender, race, caste, class, religion, and society.

Roja’s ongoing research involves the oral narratives and leadership strategies of women from indigenous communities. Roja is an advocate for the education of Dalit girls in South India, especially children, with specific focus on education. She is the president of the Dalit Solidarity Forum in the USA, Inc. Her work includes education and human rights advocacy at the campus, local, national, and global On national and international levels, Roja was one of three presenters on a recent international press release that gave statements condemning sexual violence against Dalit women in India and supporting Dalit Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter. Co-presenters included Professor Angela Davis and Dr. Ruth Manorama. Further, Roja serves as an Executive Council member of India Civil Watch International (a collective of Indian American scholars, activists, journalists, and artists who advocate for marginalized communities in India); a Board member of Advancing Refugee Students’ Educational Opportunities; and as Founder and President of Dalit Solidarity Forum (a nonprofit that provides education and skills training for Dalit girls in India). 

Roja Suganthy-Singh’s book Spotted Goddesses: Dalit women’s agency-narratives on caste and gender violence (2019) has been well received widely , - it is an ethnography on caste, gender and Dalit women’s leadership. Situated in transnational feminist discourses, her book is rooted in interactions, and lived experiences of Dalit women in Tamil Nadu, India. Singh’s perspective as a Dalit woman, provides an intersectional social analysis of power structures that sustain caste dominance in South India today. She describes strategies of social change in Dalit women’s activism as rooted in subversive applications of imposed identities of “difference” thwarting social boundaries and punishment traditions. The core of this Interdisciplinary work is Dalit women’s songs, oral and written testimonial narratives, including Singh’s personal story.

Registration Required:

The Rehumanization Project Integrity of Dalit Feminist Earthiness 3