Inter-area/Border Crossing

Roundtable Session

(10) Re-Framing the “Domestic” in India and China

3/22/2018
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Hoover, Mezzanine Level

In this innovative session, scholars working on China and India, with perspectives from across multiple disciplines, will discuss what “the domestic” means to their research, to their disciplines, and to the regions they work on. It seeks to articulate alternative frames of understanding “domestic” practices and ideas rather than imposing Euro-American categories onto Asia. In the 19th century, Christian missionary teachings and writings designated Euro-American domesticity as a universal category. These ideals about domesticity and family became integral to postwar modernization theory and social scientific development paradigms, and central to how historians of the US and Europe characterized modern historical change, with home and domesticity serving as a private and feminine complement to the public and masculine spheres of the factory and industrialization.

The work of the scholars in this session aims to de-center Euro-American ideas of domesticity and de-naturalize the teleology of developmental “domesticity”. They propose new frames for thinking about domesticity as a both a shared and unique category of social and historical experience. Discussions will consider how nationalists, colonialists, builders, manufacturers, and tastemakers deliberately constructed “the domestic” in India and China, suggesting that domesticity was never a natural development. Moreover, it will link top-down ideas with everyday work on the ground: far from being an isolated private sphere, the “domestic sphere” was entwined both with the public politics of property rights and with domestic workers’ rights. Finally, the panelists will consider how the domestic has been gendered across multiple layers, producing a space central to both male and female identities.

Each panelist will briefly outline research and questions on “the domestic,” allowing ample time for interdisciplinary and transregional conversation among panelists and with the audience.

Elizabeth LaCouture

University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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Elizabeth LaCouture

University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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    Elizabeth LaCouture

    University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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      Ashwini Tambe

      Department of Women's Studies, Maryland

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        Abigail McGowan

        University of Vermont, Vermont

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          Nicole Constable

          University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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            Llerena Guiu Searle

            University of Rochester, New York

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