Tarini Bedi


Feminist scholars engaged in the study of women and religion often grapple with the problem of how to theorize the phenomenon of women’s attraction to, and active involvement in politico-religious movements characterized by strongly “patriarchal” authority structures, and by ideologies that either seem to denigrate women or assign them to subordinate social and symbolic roles. This paper looks at some of the approaches that have been taken by feminist scholars to this issue. It reviews some key adaptations of feminist theory to the rising phenomena of women’s public participation in religious, right-wing agendas. It specifically explores the relevance of feminist theory for understanding women’s involvement in movements driven by Hindu religious revivalism in India. Using ethnographic data collected on the activities of the women’s wing of the right-wing, Shiv Sena party (Shivaji’s Army) in India, it explores the alternative ways by which feminist theorization might engage with the construction of the female subject that comes into being through religiously motivated political and social agendas in the post-colonial world.

Author Biography

Tarini Bedi is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests lie in the areas of social and cultural theory, gender, religious nationalism, class formation and visual culture.