South Asia

Organized Panel Session

135 - Marriage and Its Discontents: Law, Aesthetics and Visuality

7/7/2018
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Silveroak I, Ground Floor

This panel revisits the histories and genealogies of feminist engagement with marriage and its discontents to focus on the images and tropes through which gender, law, and violence, is contested and communicated. The panel seeks to emphasize that the playfulness of art and visuality can be at odds with the domain of the law, seen as the site of canon, code, and the “making explicit” of events. Yet art/aesthetics itself is driven by rules, conventions, and grammars. The panel addresses how aesthetic conventions serve to build moral worlds that may or may not replicate norms. Sharma Sehdev re-examines the power of frontal aesthetics found in classical Indian theatre within the context of women’s paralegal work in Delhi. Singh’s examination of the mobilization of religious iconography to address dowry violence in the painterly tales of Maithil women offers an aesthetic re-working of feminine notions of justice even as it invokes older and mythic forms of Hindu culture and genealogies. Basu reads the formation of men’s rights movements that mobilize specific ideas of feminine retribution and male vulnerability in marriage and intimate relationships in terms of the genealogies of gender and modernity. Sen traces the figure of the litigious Indian wife in popular culture and judicial culture to pose a critique of the performative discourse of misuse. Baxi reads the somewhat startling circulation of images and cases of criminal brides as a specific form of affinal violence, which mobilize older and sometimes mythic ideas of feminine retribution and vulnerability of Indian brides.

Presentations:

Pratiksha Baxi

Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

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Srimati Basu

University of Kentucky, United States

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Pratiksha Baxi

Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

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Megha Sharma Sehdev

Johns Hopkins University, United States

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Mani Shekhar Singh

University of Kentucky, India

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Srimati Basu

University of Kentucky, United States

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Jhuma Sen

O.P. Jindal Global University, India

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Srimati Basu

University of Kentucky, United States

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