"Cry out Loud!" Multiracial Organizing and Documentary Cinema

Alka Kurian

IAS faculty member Alka Kurian presented two papers at the  National Women's Studies Association Conference.  In the first, she explored “Cry Out Loud,” a documentary film focusing on racism against Africans in India.  Kurian investigated the parallels between racism and communalism in the U.S. and India that discriminate against minorities populations. She highlighted the need for multi-racial organizing between South Asian diaspora in the U.S. and other communities of color and collaboration with protest movements such as Black Lives Matter and Dream Defenders. She stressed that this type of analysis is all the more important during these deeply unsettling times when one’s color of skin or name makes us suspect, professional aptitude or model minority stereotype membership notwithstanding. 

In the second paper, she explored the disruption of mainstream feminist theory by the inclusion of subaltern subjectivities in her Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies courses. She investigated Dalit women’s critique of their exclusion from mainstream feminism in India and their theorizing of the intersection between religion, caste, and gender. She looked at how, inspired by the African American feminist movement, Dalit feminists centered the significance of “difference” in their struggles against caste hierarchies and patriarchies. The paper also explored mediatized anti-caste agitation spearheaded in the US by a group of Dalit feminists who, by means of their documentary #Dalitwomenfight, aim to end caste-based violence in India.