“I am more concerned about the fact that in our drive to educate girls, we are also putting upon them the responsibility of solving political problems — such as poverty and disease — that actually require political solutions such as taxation policies, living wages, addressing state corruption, securing safer working conditions, etc. So, we see a shifting of the burden of development on to girls, which is problematic for me. That is a key practice of neo-liberal articulations of education.``
Dr Shenila Khoja-Moolji is Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Bowdoin College, US. She speaks to Eos about her new book, Forging the Ideal Educated Girl: The Production of Desirable Subjects in Muslim South Asia, in which she traces the figure of the “educated Muslim girl” in the political and social context of education reform and development campaigns pursued in British India and post-colonial Pakistan, showing that an evolving gender narrative intersects with that of the nation, class and religion.
AB: Why did you choose to write on this subject?
SKM: I had been writing about the current convergence on the figure of the girl in international education development policy and practice. I was fascinated by the ways in which the ‘educated girl’ is often presented as the solution to a wide range of structural problems, including poverty and terrorism. I thus wanted to explore the societal investments in this figure. The ‘Musalman woman’ of the past, too, was framed similarly — her education was also expected to transform her into a figure who could improve her family and nation. So the book is an attempt to trace a genealogy of this figure in the context of colonial India and Pakistan. I wanted to show that a range of different entities — from colonial officers and Christian missionaries to Muslim social reformers, the Pakistani state, and now corporations such as Nike — converge on this figure to articulate different imaginations of an ideal social order. In this way, education becomes both regulatory and emancipatory for girls.
Read complete interview at the source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1434447