Julia Kowalski Lecture: Addressing Violence Against Women in North India: Rethinking the Role of Interactive Strategies


Location: Virtual lecture / Zoom

Kowalski Lecture


About the Speaker

Julia Kowalski is an assistant professor of global affairs and a concurrent faculty member in Notre Dame’s Gender Studies Program. She is a faculty fellow of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies. A cultural anthropologist by training, she completed her PhD in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.

She has been conducting fieldwork in North India since 2007, focusing on issues of gender, kinship, women’s rights, personhood, gendered violence, and everyday institutional practices.

About the Lecture

When scholars evaluate and compare efforts to end gender violence around the world, they often focus on debates about how to define “violence,” asking whether various institutional actors share a definition of gender violence that reflects an understanding that gendered violence is a violation of survivors’ rights. In this talk, however, I suggest that we expand our analysis to include careful attention to how institutional actors conceptualize the role of interactive practices in addressing violence. Drawing on long term ethnographic fieldwork with women’s rights NGOs in Jaipur, the capital of the north Indian state of Rajasthan, I argue that NGO staff deploy diverse, sophisticated models of how spoken interaction might ameliorate situations of household violence. These models both reflect and transform, in turn, widely shared understandings of how people’s interactive behavior marks them as good kin and modern individuals—understandings that anthropologists call “language ideologies.” By attending to the role of language ideologies in anti-violence interventions, scholars of gender violence can develop richer models for comparing approaches to violence. At the same time, this analytic perspective raises new questions about what universalizing models of gender violence take for granted about rights, relations, and personhood. 

This lecture is free and open to the public. 

Wednesday, March 31, 11 a.m. EDT/Add to Google Calendar 

Zoom registration