Unearthing Gender: Folksongs of North India

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Unearthing Gender is a compelling ethnographic analysis of folksongs sung primarily by lower-caste women in north India, in the fields, at weddings, during travels, and in other settings. Smita Tewari Jassal uses these songs to explore how ideas of caste, gender, sexuality, labor, and power may be strengthened, questioned, and fine-tuned through music. At the heart of the book is a library of songs, in their original Bhojpuri and in English translation, framed by Jassal's insights into the complexities of gender and power.

The significance of these folksongs, Jassal argues, lies in their suggesting and hinting at themes, rather than directly addressing them: women sing what they often cannot talk about. Women's lives, their feelings, their relationships, and their social and familial bonds are persuasively presented in song. For the ethnographer, the songs offer an entry into the everyday cultures of marginalized groups of women who have rarely been the focus of systematic analytical inquiry.

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About the Author:

Smita Tewari Jassal is Associate Professor Anthropology, Graduate School of Social Sciences at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. She is the author of Daughters of the Earth: Women and Land in Uttar Pradesh and is coauthor of The Partition Motif In Contemporary Conflicts: Germany, India-Pakistan, Israel-Palestine.

Review:

"Smita Tewari Jassal has accomplished meticulous and groundbreaking original scholarship based on many years of fieldwork. The most admirable feature of this book is its ritually contextualized presentation of rural women's songs (full texts and translations) with their nuanced poetics—all framed by the author's acute insights into the complexities of gender and power in the world from which these songs emerge." (Ann Grodzins Gold, co-author of In the Time of Trees and Sorrows: Nature, Power, and Memory in Rajasthan)

"Smita Tewari Jassal's incisive ethnographic analysis of folksongs maps a complex, multivocal genealogy of agrarian structures, patriarchal practices, and the nuanced gendered worlds of peasant women in north India. This rich exploration of emotions embodied in women's collective singing practices offers an unusual, often delightfully irreverent window into caste, gender, and the workings of power in the agrarian political economies of north India. An engaging and beautifully written book—a 'must read' for scholars and teachers interested in questions of subaltern consciousness and women’s agency." (Chandra Talpade Mohanty, author of Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity)

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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2012. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Unearthing Gender is a compelling ethnographic analysis of folksongs sung primarily by lower-caste women in north India, in the fields, at weddings, during travels, and in other settings. Smita Tewari Jassal uses these songs to explore how ideas of caste, gender, sexuality, labor, and power may be strengthened, questioned, and fine-tuned through music. At the heart of the book is a library of songs, in their original Bhojpuri and in English translation, framed by Jassal's insights into the complexities of gender and power.The significance of these folksongs, Jassal argues, lies in their suggesting and hinting at themes, rather than directly addressing them: women sing what they often cannot talk about. Women's lives, their feelings, their relationships, and their social and familial bonds are persuasively presented in song. For the ethnographer, the songs offer an entry into the everyday cultures of marginalized groups of women who have rarely been the focus of systematic analytical inquiry. Seller Inventory # POW9780822351306

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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2012. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Unearthing Gender is a compelling ethnographic analysis of folksongs sung primarily by lower-caste women in north India, in the fields, at weddings, during travels, and in other settings. Smita Tewari Jassal uses these songs to explore how ideas of caste, gender, sexuality, labor, and power may be strengthened, questioned, and fine-tuned through music. At the heart of the book is a library of songs, in their original Bhojpuri and in English translation, framed by Jassal's insights into the complexities of gender and power.The significance of these folksongs, Jassal argues, lies in their suggesting and hinting at themes, rather than directly addressing them: women sing what they often cannot talk about. Women's lives, their feelings, their relationships, and their social and familial bonds are persuasively presented in song. For the ethnographer, the songs offer an entry into the everyday cultures of marginalized groups of women who have rarely been the focus of systematic analytical inquiry. Seller Inventory # POW9780822351306

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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2012. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Unearthing Gender is a compelling ethnographic analysis of folksongs sung primarily by lower-caste women in north India, in the fields, at weddings, during travels, and in other settings. Smita Tewari Jassal uses these songs to explore how ideas of caste, gender, sexuality, labor, and power may be strengthened, questioned, and fine-tuned through music. At the heart of the book is a library of songs, in their original Bhojpuri and in English translation, framed by Jassal's insights into the complexities of gender and power.The significance of these folksongs, Jassal argues, lies in their suggesting and hinting at themes, rather than directly addressing them: women sing what they often cannot talk about. Women's lives, their feelings, their relationships, and their social and familial bonds are persuasively presented in song. For the ethnographer, the songs offer an entry into the everyday cultures of marginalized groups of women who have rarely been the focus of systematic analytical inquiry. Seller Inventory # BTA9780822351306

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