ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Women on Campus: Negotiating Spaces and Silences

Disciplining and surveillance are some of the ways in which universities have responded to women's needs and desires to enter public spaces in and around campuses. At the Aligarh Muslim University Women's College, students have been forced to demand that they be allowed into the main university library and also that the university lift oppressive hostel rules. The academic institution almost becomes an extension of the conservative household and demonstrates a paternalistic notion of protection that reinforces moral policing.

Shadab Bano (shadab.bano@gmail.com) teaches history at Women’s College, Aligarh Muslim University; Bijayalaxmi Nanda (bijayalaxmi@yahoo.com) teaches political science at Miranda House; Mahuya Bandyopadhyay (moshuus@yahoo.com) teaches sociology at Miranda House; Nonica Datta (nonica.datta@gmail.com) teaches history at Miranda House, University of Delhi.

Aligarh women battle to enter varsity library”. “AMU Women’s College students seek more liberal rules”. These headlines appeared in The Hindu (22 September 2011), as women students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) asserted their right to use the Maulana Azad Library. Students of this 100-year-old Women’s College are not allowed to enter one of Asia’s best libraries. Nearly 600 students and 57 teachers of AMU have signed a petition asking for access to the library (Mail Today, 23 September 2011). There were also protests against the oppressive hostel rules at the Women’s College: “It is like living in a bubble; you wake up, go to class, grab your meals, stroll inside the compound and then head straight back to the hostel. On Sundays you can hope to get permission to go outside,” that is how Zehra Khan, a student and hostel inmate at the Abdullah Hall in AMU, described her daily routine (The Hindu, 23 September 2011).

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