India’s Globalizing Middle Class and the Imperatives of Domestic Servitude – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

India’s Globalizing Middle Class and the Imperatives of Domestic Servitude

Sociologist Raka Ray will give “Grappling With Modernity: Kolkata's 'Respectable Classes' and the Imperatives of Domestic Servitude” at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, in the Geneva Room as part of the Fisher Center lecture series. A roundtable discussion will be held at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, in the Fisher Center, Demarest 212.

Associate professor of sociology and South and Southeast Asian studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Ray studies how the institution of domestic servitude has, since the late 19th century, been constitutive of middle-classness such that even that segment of the middle class which sees itself as the vanguard of the Indian “global modern” cannot imagine a modern home without a servant. For Ray, the “servant problem” can be read as a metaphor for the changes wrought by middle class India’s confrontation with a new economic and social order. Ray’s areas of scholarship also include women’s movements in the Third World. Her most recent book is “Fields of Protest: Women’s Movements in India,” and she is currently co-editing “Rethinking Class and Poverty: Social Movements in India in a Transnational Age”.

Fisher Center library reserve list

Available readings: “Fields of Protest: Women’s Movements in India”; “Masculinity, Femininity and Servitude: Domestic Workers in Calcutta in the Late Twentieth Century” in Feminist Studies.