Open lecture | Rajyashree Pandey

Rethinking the politics of gender and agency: lessons from the world of medieval Japan

Rajyashree Pandey | Reader in Asian Studies at the Politics – Goldsmiths, University of London

20 de Setembro, 17:30

Sala N, Bloco 2, piso 1 – Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas/NOVA

B2 N


“This Open lecture engages with recent debates within feminism itself to rethink women, gender, body, and agency as conceptual categories for reading medieval Japanese literary/Buddhist texts. It questions the unreflexive transposition of contemporary understandings of concepts to the past, on the grounds that this produces anachronistic readings of the worlds we seek to understand. It argues that in medieval Japanese texts gender did not function as a ‘social’ category posited against the ‘natural’ fact of sex, and that gender was a kind of script and that it was the specificity of the gendered performance, rather than the sexual attributes and reproductive functions of the body, that gave substance to the categories ‘male’ and ‘female.’

The lecture also offers a critique of modern liberal conceptions of agency, which presuppose that agency is something possessed by autonomous individuals with free will, and that it belongs to humans alone, suggesting that such an understanding of agency is clearly inadequate for an analysis of women and gender in medieval Japanese texts.”


Rajyashree Pandey

raj panday

Rajyashree Pandey is Reader in Asian Studies at the Politics department of Goldsmiths, University of London. She received her education in India, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia and has taught in many academic institutions across the world. She is the author of Writing and Renunciation in Medieval Japan: The Works of the Poet-Priest Kamo no Chõmei (Michigan University, Japanese Monograph Series,1998) and Perfumed Sleeves and Tangled Hair: Body, Woman, and Desire in Medieval Japanese Narratives (University of Hawaii Press, 2016). She has also published articles in a wide range of journals from Monumenta Nipponica to Postcolonial Studies on medieval Japanese literature and Buddhism, as well as on sexuality and Japanese popular culture.


Organização: IHA/Grupo Pre-Modern