This special issue of Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly focuses on Caste and Life Narratives. From the guest editors:
Life narratives ranging from autobiographies and biographies to blogs and pictorial art have historically played a vital role in both the affirmation as well as interrogation of caste identities. However, serious study of life narratives in relationship to caste is still relatively underdeveloped. The scholarship on caste (or the varna-jati complex) is vast, as is the study of life narratives as a genre—it is the conjunction of the two that especially merits sustained scrutiny. The study of caste is animated by a Critical Caste Studies that takes its bearing from Dalit Studies, a lively area of scholarly endeavor in recent years, in order to explore diverse phenomena within the varna-jati complex. The scrutiny of life narratives in conjunction with caste promises to expand the scope of inquiry into life narratives by bringing new cultural contexts into the discussion and by enabling the formulation of new theoretical questions of genre. Such an investigation contributes to the study of caste by directing attention to fresh archives and by making available for analysis in powerful ways questions of identity. The critical work of studying caste in conjunction with life narratives is most pertinent with regard to India but includes the South Asian diaspora as well as other countries such as Japan.
— Editors’ Introduction: “My Birth Is My Fatal Accident”: Introduction to Caste and Life Narratives by S. Shankar and Charu Gupta
- Speaking Self, Writing Caste: Recovering the Life of Santram BA
by Charu Gupta
- The Dalit Personal Narrative in Hindi: Reflections on a Long Literary Lineage
by Tapan Basu
- Tamil Dalit Literature: Aesthetics, Politics, and Life Narratives
by Parthasarathi Muthukkaruppan
- Bending Biography: The Creative Intrusions of “Real Lives” in Dalit Fiction
by Laura R. Brueck
Lives in Visual and Performance Cultures
- Periyar as a Biopic: Star Persona, Historical Events, and Politics
by Swarnavel Eswaran
- Affective Returns: Biopics as Life Narratives
by Bindu Menon
- Caste Life Narratives, Visual Representation, and Protected Ignorance
by Y. S. Alone
- Mangala Bansode and the Social Life of Tamasha: Caste, Sexuality, and Discrimination in Modern Maharashtra
by Shailaja Paik
Law, Society, and Narratives of the Self
- Brahmanical Activism as Eco-Casteism: Reading the Life Narratives of Bindeshwar Pathak, Sulabh International, and “Liberated” Dalits
by Mukul Sharma
- Invisibility of “Other” Dalits and Silence in the Law
by Sumit Baudh
Out of India
- Stories of Dalit Diaspora: Migration, Life Narratives, and Caste in the US
by Shweta Majumdar Adur and Anjana Narayan
- Caste in Japan: The Burakumin
by June A. Gordon
Plus acknowledgments, selected bibliography, and contributors.
For over thirty years, Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly has explored the theoretical, generic, historical, and cultural dimensions of life-writing.
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