Priyamvada Gopal (Faculty of English, Cambridge University) will explore the controversy surrounding Gurpreet Khaur Bhatti's 2004 play Behzti, which sparked heated protest for its depiction of rape, abuse, and murder in a Sikh gurdwara in Britain. Her lecture uses this episode to interrogate contemporary truisms about feminism, state multiculturalism, and artistic freedom.
This lecture will present Priyamvada Gopal's current research on the 2004 play Behzti (Punjabi: "dishonor") by the British Sikh playwright Gurpreet Khaur Bhatti. She will address the controversy surrounding the play's treatment of rape and violence within the British Sikh community, which provoked heated protest and threats of violence and led to the play's cancellation after only two performances. Dr. Gopal will use the Behzti episode to interrogate contemporary truisms about feminism, state multiculturalism, and artistic freedom.
Priyamvada Gopal (Ph.D. English, Cornell) is lecturer in the Faculty of English at Cambridge University. She is the author of two widely praised books: Literary Radicalism in India: Gender, Nation, and the Transition to Independence (Routledge, 2005) and The Indian English Novel: Nation, History, and Narration (Oxford, 2009). A member of the editorial collective of the influential journal New Formations, she co-edited the journal's special issue "After Iraq: Reframing Postcolonial Studies." She has published numerous scholarly articles on colonial and postcolonial literatures (in English and Hindi/Urdu), film, contemporary feminism, and Marxist and postcolonial theory. She is also a well-known commentator in radio, television, and print media in both Britain and India.
Dr. Gopal will be introduced by Gautam Premnath, Assistant Professor of English at Berkeley, who will also moderate discussion. Premnath is the author of a forthcoming book entitled Mobile Republics: Itineraries of Authorship between India and the Caribbean (Virginia, 2011). His current research concerns post-1945 British literature and culture.
Center for South Asia Studies, UC Berkeley, 10 Stephens Hall (Rear Annex), University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720-2310