Skip to content

Antonia Navarro-Tejero: Imperialist Accounts of Obstetric Violence in India and Recovered Indigenous Knowledges

500 Hall of Languages (change of venue)

Add to: Outlook, ICal, Google Calendar

Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

South Asia Center presents

Imperialist Accounts of Obstetric Violence in India and Recovered Indigenous Knowledges

This talk focuses on an account of the history of the medicalization of childbirth during the British Raj in India, how birth and delivery were appropriated from indigenous midwives (dais) and how hospitalization was made desirable among the Indian elite. We will discuss how the traditional birth assistants have been represented by the colonial missions of both the British Empire in the 19th century and the American one in the 20th century, through two well-known authors: Rudyard Kipling and Katherine Mayo. In addition to analyzing the triple marginalization of indigenous birth assistants in their subaltern status, we will present some of the current mechanisms of reassessment of their ancestral practices that place the domestic sphere back to its subversive potential.

Professor Antonia Navarro-Tejero has been teaching Cultural Studies and South Asian Literatures at Universidad de Córdoba (Spain) since 2003, where she chairs the Permanent Seminar on India Studies. Prof.  Navarro is currently the head researcher of the European funded project “Corporalities, Genders and Difference: Cultural Practices of Violence and Marginalization” and is the team leader of cluster “Embodiments” in the Spanish Ministry of Innovation and Universities research project “Bodies in Transit.” Among other awards and recognitions, she is currently a Salvador de Madariaga Fellow at Syracuse University (Women’s and Gender Department) and was a Fulbright postdoc scholar at University of California, Berkeley. She is Founder-President of the Spanish Association for Interdisciplinary India Studies ( Her research interests include transnational feminist theory and praxis, non-normative knowledges, and the biomedical discourse.

For more information or to request additional accommodations, please contact Emera Bridger Wilson,

Open to




Contact to request accommodations