Book Review: Nirmala Banerjee, Samita Sen, and Nandita Dhawan, eds, Mapping the Field: Gender Relations in Contemporary India (Vol. 2)

AuthorDebolina Mukherjee
Published date01 June 2014
Date01 June 2014
Subject MatterBook Reviews
96 Book Reviews
Jadavpur Journal of International Relations, 18, 1 (2014): 85–102
Nirmala Banerjee, Samita Sen, and Nandita Dhawan, eds, Mapping the
Field: Gender Relations in Contemporary India (Vol. 2). Kolkata: School of
Women’s Studies and Stree, 2012, pp. xliv + 330, Rs. 475.
DOI: 10.1177/0973598414535062
One of the ambitions of the early ‘women’s studies’ scholars had been
that instead of being treated as one coming out of a ghetto, the discipline
should be strong enough to pervade through all the major branches of
knowledge. This dream has certainly come true to an extent as no major
academic subject can ignore the gender question. Naturally, there has
been an accompanying proliferation of feminist literature. Despite that,
or perhaps precisely because of that very reason, as the editors have very
correctly pointed out in the Introduction, a reader in women’s studies
needs no justification as materials required for teaching, learning, or
simply towards self-enhancement would be always welcome.
The book in question is a part of four readers in the series ‘Reading in
Gender Studies 1’. It is, as evident from the title, on gender relations in
contemporary India, which has been produced in two volumes. While the
first one focuses on women’s movement, work, and social issues, the sec-
ond or the present one concentrates on environment, law, ascriptive iden-
tities, and sexuality, and their interaction with women and feminism.
Women and Environment
In the first article, ‘Genderscapes: Understanding Why Gender Bias
Persists in Natural Resource Management’, the author Sumi Krishna
offers a critical eye in discussing the distribution of natural resources
in India and how, gender bias is an essential element in understanding
the same.
It is crucial to take note of the prejudices against women as they have
been systematically marginalized in the sharing of such resources
through the working of patriarchy in a variety of ways that might range
from notions of pollution or chastity to elbowing her out forcibly. As the
institution of patriarchy is intertwined with state formation, it looms
large even in government policy and programs. Not that such aggression

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