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Title: Beyond the binary : postcolonial ecofeminism in Indian women's writing in English
Author: Kaur, Gurpreet
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 6033
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis discusses the inter-relations between the theoretical field of postcolonial ecofeminism, women writing fiction in the Indian subcontinent, and to an extent, environmental activism. I argue that it is necessary to disrupt the culture/nature dualism that aligns women ‘naturally’ to nature. The disarticulation and disruption of the culture/nature dualism throws the space in-between as a grey area where multiple positions are possible for the women. Much of the ecofeminist theory and accounts of women-led activism do not allow for this ambivalent relationship to the environment. Women writing Indian fiction in English highlight this ambivalent relationship that women have with the environment, thus providing an important counterpoint to both theory and accounts of activism. The overall thesis engages with three key theoretical frameworks—the representation of women and nature within postcolonial ecofeminist theories as well as accounts of activism; postcolonial fictions that engage with these issues of gender and environment; and a material feminist perspective to weave together the different threads to present an analysis and theory of the deeply interconnected and ambivalent concepts of representation of women, environment and space. I will explore and discuss the ambivalent relationship that women have with the environment through the filter of women writing Indian fiction in English. The novels to be analysed in this study allow me to engage a range of critical perspectives—from early ecofeminism to urban ecofeminism: Nectar in a Sieve (1954) by Kamala Markandya, Cry, the Peacock (1963) and Fire on the Mountain (1977) by Anita Desai, A River Sutra (1993) by Gita Mehta, The God of Small Things (1997) by Arundhati Roy, The Madwoman of Jogare (1998) by Sohaila Abdulali, An Atlas of Impossible Longing (2008) by Anuradha Roy and Monkey-Man (2010) by Usha K.R. The novels analysed in this thesis allow me to explore a range of issues within postcolonial ecofeminism, while ensuring that postcolonial ecofeminism is not just confined to ‘natural’ or ‘rural’ landscapes alone. It is also important to disarticulate the non-urban/urban binary, and include the built environment—cities and other urban spaces and places—into the fold of ecofeminism. The novels themselves span a time from immediate post-independence to contemporary times, allowing me to engage with a range of postcolonial issues along with issues of gender and environment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature