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Women’s and gender studies in the twenty-first century have transformed the question of theory and praxis across the globe. As a discipline, it is waging its struggle against diverse forms of power and patriarchy. Women’s studies in India started its own unique trajectory from the 1970s onwards. However, Dalit feminism critiqued the metanarrative of Indian feminism in the 1990s. Dalit feminists argued that they are oppressed on the basis of caste, class and gender. Dalit feminism subverted the internal and external patriarchy through its own powerful methodology and tropes. It debunked the partial, Brahminic, Indian feminism and its conspicuous silence on the relations of caste, gender, class and patriarchy. Dominant feminists included Dalit feminist discourse in the curriculum in a patronising fashion. Paradoxically, the social composition of those academicians was confined to the upper caste/class locations. This article engages with the experiences of Dalit women academicians who teach in the department of women’s and gender studies in India. It explores forms and practices of caste, class, and gender discrimination in such departments. These forms of domination and subordination show the contradiction between practice and theory. It reflects on the moral and ethical positioning to unpack the everyday caste violence that operates in the educational institutions. It maps the politics of women’s and gender studies in India. This article analyses the possibilities and impossibilities related to Dalit feminist engagement with capabilities and intersectional approaches in women’s and gender studies in India. The main thrust is to examine the real and utopian dimensions of the assertions of Dalit women academicians.
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