Dr. Sumi Madhok recently visited the Political Science department and delivered a lecture to students and faculty titled ‘Rethinking Agency: Developmentalism, Gender and Rights’ which is also the title of her recent book published by Routledge.

Her work is an attempt to rethink the notion of ‘agency’ within liberal theory, shifting emphasis away from ‘free will’ and ‘free-action’ to ‘speech-acts’.  In other words the manner in which people (in her case women development workers in Rajasthan whom she interviewed) express themselves through speech can also be read as indicative of agency and not only through their actions (which may indicate a lack of agency).

Dr. Madhok is a lecturer in Transnational Gender Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.  She has also co-edited a recent book titled ‘Gender, Agency and Coercion’.  Her research is on transnational gender issues focusing on human rights, citizenship, development and postcoloniality. She is also interested in the genealogical investigations of rights, discourses, cultures and subjectivities especially within Southern Asia.

by Aparna Devare, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science