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Indigenous Peoples in India: Social Consequences of Land Rights Legislation: Gender and Resilience

Lecture | October 16 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 554 Barrows Hall


Indrani Sigamany

Native American Studies & Ethnic Studies, Institute for South Asia Studies


In the Aravalli Hill forests of Rajasthan, where access to justice remains uneven and elusive for indigenous peoples, a group of Adivasi women are claiming land rights through activistism. In the context of gender inequality in predominantly patriarchal societies, the threat to loss of lands, forest based livelihoods and traditional conservation, is experienced more acutely by women whose productive and reproductive roles are closely interlinked with forest economies, forcing them into new vulnerabilities. This has dictated an increasing impoverishment, initiating a discourse on the feminization of poverty, in which women comprise the majority of the poor. The enactment of the Forest Rights Act of India 2006 (FRA), in theory, promises land security for forest peoples historically dispossessed of customary land rights and displaced from ancestral lands. Using a case study from her field work, Indrani Sigamany illustrates how the FRA has revolutionized forest women’s potential for legally challenging land dispossession.


ethnicst@berkeley.edu, 510-643-0796