The West has talked about India’s caste system since the days of the British Raj, but it remains mostly a mystery outside of India. What is caste? Is it based on occupation, color, religion, race – or all those factors? And are there caste systems in America? Colby College professor Sonja Thomas will unpack the misunderstandings, myths, and realities of a system long abhorred but still practiced in today’s India despite years of activism aimed at ending it, in a Camden Conference Community Event on Wednesday, December 13 at the Rockport Public Library. The program will start at 6:00 p.m. and is free and open to all.
Sonja Thomas is Associate Professor of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies at Colby. Her research examines the intersections of caste, race, gender, class, and religion in postcolonial India and race, Catholic settler colonialism, and the South Asian diaspora. She is the author of Privileged Minorities: Syrian Christianity, Gender, and Minority Rights in Postcolonial India (UWA Press, 2018). She is currently writing a manuscript entitled Indians and Cowboys: Race, Caste, and Indian Missionary Priests in Rural America on Catholic missionary priests from India serving in rural Montana and North Dakota. She has also written articles on tap dance.
Professor Thomas’s talk will be in anticipation of the 37th Annual Camden Conference, INDIA: Rising Ambitions, Challenges at Home, taking place live from the Camden Opera House February 16-18, 2024.