Julia Kowalski book launch: "Counseling Women: Kinship against Violence in India"


Location: 1030 Jenkins Nanovic Halls

Kowalski Book Cover

Join the Keough School of Global Affairs and its cosponsors for the launch of Professor Julia Kowalski's new book, Counseling Women: Kinship against Violence in India (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022). Kowalski will discuss her book with Sarah Lamb of Brandeis University and Michele Friedner of the University of Chicago.

Counseling Women follows family counselors in India as they support women who have experienced violence at home in the context of complex shifting legal and familial systems. Drawing on ethnographic research at counseling centers in Jaipur, Rajasthan, Kowalski shows how an individualistic notion of women’s rights places already vulnerable women into even more precarious positions by ignoring the reality of the social relations that shape lives within and beyond the family.

Rather than focusing on attaining independence from kin, family counselors in India instead strive to help women cultivate relationships of interdependence in order to reimagine family life in the wake of violence. Counselors mobilize the beliefs, concepts, and frameworks of kinship to offer women interactive strategies to gain agency within the family, including multigenerational kin networks encompassing parents, in-laws, and other extended family. Through this work, kinship becomes a resource through which people imagine and act on new familial futures.

In viewing this reliance on kinship as part of, rather than a deviation from, global women’s rights projects, Counseling Women reassesses Western liberal feminism’s notions of what it means to have agency and what constitutes violence, and retheorizes the role of interdependence in gendered violence and inequality as not only a site of vulnerability but a potential source of strength.

The launch will be followed by a reception in 1050 Jenkins Nanovic Halls. Both the events are free and open to the public. 


Julia Kowalski

Assistant Professor Global Affairs, Keough School of Global Affairs
Concurrent Faculty, Gender Studies Program
Concurrent Faculty, Department of Anthropology
Faculty Fellow, Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, and Kellogg Institute for International Studies


Sarah Lamb

Barbara Mandel Professor of Humanistic Social Sciences
Professor of Anthropology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Brandeis University


Michele Friedner

Associate Professor, Department of Comparative Human Development 
University of Chicago

Cosponsored by the Keough School of Global AffairsLiu Institute for Asia and Asian StudiesKellogg Institute for Global StudiesKroc Institute for International Peace StudiesGender Studies Program, and Department of Anthropology