Gendered Violence in Public Spaces: Women’s Narratives of Travel in Neoliberal India examines the vulnerability of women in public spaces in India through an analysis of narrative representations ranging from emerging digital media, commercial Hindi films, and graphic narratives to accounts of real and lived experiences of women. In doing so, this collection initiates a scholarly discussion on manifold forms of emotional, mental, epistemic, and above all sexual violence female travelers face in male-dominated public spaces. Gendered Violence in Public Spaces therefore challenges contemporary readers to re-frame India’s public spaces against misogyny and gendered violence.
Swathi Krishna S. is assistant professor of English in the School of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Management at IIT Bhubaneswar, India.
Srirupa Chatterjee is associate professor of English in the Department of Liberal Arts at IIT Hyderabad, India.
Introduction: Hostile Terrains, Empowering Textual Spaces: Neoliberal Literature and the Female Traveler
Swathi Krishna S. and Srirupa Chatterjee
Chapter 1. No Longer Innocent: Male Gaze, Violence, and Female Kinship in Kishwar Desai’s The Sea of Innocence
Chapter 2. Peripheral Urbanization as Queer Identity in Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Chapter 3. Mirrors of Reality: Toxic Masculinity, Traveling Women, and The Representation of Acid Attack Victim-Survivors in Priya’s Mirror
Part II: Bollywood’s Traveling Women (I): Misogyny, Roads, and Female Vulnerability
Chapter 4. Stepping Out: Global Bollywood, Gendered Landscape, and Undercurrents of Neo-liberal Pleasures
Chapter 5. Celluloid Women Rewriting Rules of Travel in Contemporary Hindi Cinema
Part III: Bollywood’s Traveling Women (II): Vexed Dualities of Freedom and Fear
Chapter 6. The Conditional Promise of Empowerment and Pleasure: An Intersectional Analysis of Hindi Film Portrayals of Women Navigating Public Spaces in India
Chapter 7. Traveling Women and their Male Companions: Framing Risks and Vulnerabilities in Indian Road Films
Part IV: Troubles of the Outdoorsy Woman: Multiple Genres/Multiple Voices
Chapter 8. Roads, Dreams, and Violence: Tracing the Mental Landscape of India’s Domestic Workers
Bonnie Zare and Ditto Prasad
Chapter 9. Negotiating Violence and Traversing the City: Female Vulnerability in Delhi Crime (2019) and She (2020)
Shreya Rastogi and Srirupa Chatterjee
Part V: Struggle for Survival: Working Women and Pitfalls of Indian Roads
Chapter 10. Working Night Shifts, Traversing Neoliberal Roads: Spatial-Temporal Confluence and the Male Gaze
Chapter 11. Women Journalists Negotiating Space in India’s ‘Small’ Cities”
Part VI: Traveling Solo, Traveling Strong: Women Braving Neoliberal Roads
Chapter 12. Travel with Care: Reinforcing Patriarchy through Tips for Solo Female Travelers in India
Kiranpreet Kaur Baath
What happens to women who travel? To those who transgress into male dominated spaces (e.g. the world)? Gendered Violence in Public Spaces provides insights into these questions. Comprised of 12 beautifully written chapters, the book explores how women’s travel has been represented through literature, film, and print. Anxiety, anticipation, joy, risk, comfort, violence, vulnerability, and danger – these are all things the reader will encounter in this book which makes a valuable contribution to feminist geography, literature and media studies.
Gendered Violence in Public Spaces makes an important contribution to the study of women’s writing from India that interrogates the vulnerability of women in public spaces. In bringing together theorization of space along with the work of feminist geographers, this book provides excellent readings of a range of literary texts, films, and television shows. This book will be a valuable addition to the libraries of South Asian, feminist, and literary scholars.
Compelling and lucid, this anthology often veers into policy debates on reclaiming India’s public spaces rife with misogyny and sexual violence for the empowered female traveler. Its innovative and original approach brings value-addition to scholarship on female empowerment in the Indian subcontinent.