Illuminating Contemporary Feminisms in South Asia

“Why Loiter” and “Storytelling with Saris”

Monday, April 29, 2013, 7–9pm

@ Asian American Writers’ Workshop
110-112 West 27th St. (btw 6th and 7th Aves)
New York, NY

Given the recent media attention to gender-based violence in South Asia, SAWCC presents two projects that imagine and create feminist spaces in urban and rural South Asia. Feminists Shilpa Phadke, Monica Jahan Bose, Nandita Ahmed, and Alka Dev will talk about their work around building agency through collaborative actions with other women.

Shilpa Phadke, co-author of Why Loiter? Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets (Penguin 2011), examines women’s access and claim to public space in Mumbai beyond the prescriptions of a consumerist patriarchy. Alka Dev and Phadke will discuss issues of public health and women’s safety. Artist Monica Jahan Bose and filmmaker Nandita Ahmed highlight women’s literacy and empowerment through “Storytelling with Saris,” a collaborative printmaking and story project in Bangladesh with Samhati, an organization through which Ms. Bose and her family have transformed the village of Katakhali.

Shilpa Phadke is an assistant professor at the Centre for Media and Cultural Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She has been educated at St. Xavier’s College; SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, and the University of Cambridge, UK. Her essays on women’s health and safety in India have been published in many academic journals and books, and she is the co-author of Why Loiter? Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets (Penguin 2011).

Alka Dev is a global health professional with over a decade of experience in the implementation of public health programs in resource-poor settings. She has focused on issues as diverse as women’s reproductive health, tuberculosis, and childhood blindness. Alka holds a Master of Health Science from Johns Hopkins University and is currently enrolled in a public health doctoral program at the Graduate Center, City University New York.  Her current work focuses on the health impact of urbanization in countries, and she is particularly interested in comparing the effects of rapidly changing urban environments with regard to gender.

Monica Jahan Bose is a Bangladeshi-American artist, lawyer, and activist. Her work includes painting, drawing, printmaking, installation, sculpture, and performance, as well as advocacy on women’s issues and the environment. She has exhibited extensively in galleries and museums in the United States and internationally. She serves on the board of Samhati, a US-based Bangladeshi women’s organization that creates projects focused on ecology and literacy to empower poor women in Bangladesh. She is also on the board of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective. She now lives and works in Washington, D.C., spending part of the year working in Bangladesh.

Nandita Ahmed is an artist, designer, and filmmaker. She graduated from Wellesley College with a major in Media Arts and Sciences. She started off her career as a producer/editor for a boutique-size ad agency based in New York City. She had the opportunity to work on many high-profile accounts including, New York Jets, the French Culinary Institute,and various Condé Nast Publications. Since then, Nandita has started her own agency, Brand Bean LLC, and has expanded her portfolio into nonprofits. Nandita was born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh and resides in Brooklyn, New York.