Dissertation Defense Video
The video of my dissertation defense is available to watch via the department's YouTube channel. It can be viewed below. For those who are interested, I have also included the abstract below. Excerpts from the introduction and literature review were published in the journal, Integral Review.
Claiming Voice, Vitality, and Authority in Post-Secular South Asian Borderlands: a Critical Hermeneutics and Autohistoria/teoría for Decolonial Feminist Consciousness
This dissertation uses Gloria Anzaldúa’s borderlands framework to facilitate the transculturative process of shifting into a new consciousness in the border zones of kyriarchy, coloniality, and modernity. The borderlands are conceived of as an alternative to that which is written in history. De-linking from Western modernity’s assumption of universality allows me to make a claim to a modernity that acknowledges the histories of Western colonialism and imperialism. It further enables me to reconstruct meanings and practices found in transnational spaces configured as the Other: tradition, the past, nature, the feminine, the “primitive,” the household. I enact this decolonial recovery at the edges of my South Asian/brown postcolonial feminist subjectivity.
The borderlands framework makes possible a profoundly relational onto-epistemological praxis, in which I examine the configurations of voice, vitality and authority in my experiences, identities, and motherlines. I contend with the dominant narratives of brahmanical patriarchy continuing in the lives of women in India. The post-secular sacred locates as essential a critical interrogation of all forms of oppression. Engaging the self in relation to culture, I utilize borderlands thinking and aesthetics to recover and resignify complex images of female identity, and to suggest an episteme of the sacred for healing and liberation of post-patriarchal possibilities. The critical mobility of spiritual mestizaje invites me into a wholeness of sorts that forefronts the grandmothers, the foremothers, and the experiences of women of color on their own terms.
The dissertation locates itself within a transdisciplinary post/decolonial feminist research paradigm. It accomplishes its tasks of deconstruction and reconstruction through the processes of feminist critical hermeneutics (Schüssler Fiorenza) and autohistoria/teoría (Anzaldúa). Both methods of inquiry make possible a processual and relational epistemology that challenges the borders around the modes of knowledge creation.
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