Women's Agency and Social Change: Assam and Beyond focuses on varied oppression, power relations and ideologies embedded in the complex yet interdependent social, political, ecomic and legal structures, and women's subordination therein. British intervention, 1826-1947, by itself did t impact the agency aspect on women directly, but the emergence of new forces and factors sowed the seeds of women's agency to impact social change, even if minimal. In the post-Independence period, British colonial legacy perpetuated the subordination of women through caste and class hierarchy at several levels, but an undercurrent of a feminist struggle persisted, t merely as a movement but also at individual levels. The book is written with the hope of encouraging future research on women's experiences in the Northeastern region of India, and elsewhere; hence, a discussion on sources, methods and methodology is included in the conclusion. This book is based on the belief that kwledge production is, in itself, the praxis against oppressive structures and the need to understand the historical processes that slowly transformed women to become catalysts of social transformation.
Meeta Deka is Professor and Head of the Department of History at Gauhati University, Assam, India, where she teaches Colonialism, and Peasants' and Workers' Resistance in Modern India. She taught History at St. Anthony's College, Shillong, for 12 years (May 1985-August 1997), after which she joined the present institute. She is a Life Member of North East India History Association, Kamarupa Anusandhana Samiti (Assam Research Society), North East India Social Science Congress, Institute of North East India Studies, North East Indian Council of Social Science Research, Indian Association for Women Studies and Centre for Contemporary Theory. Born in Shillong, Meghalaya, Deka completed her MPhil and PhD under the North Eastern Hill University, Shillong. Her specialization is in Modern Indian History and Northeast India. Her varied research interests are social movements, including student and peasant struggles, and Environmental and Gender History. Her publications include Studen Movements in Assam (1996), besides several papers in national and international journals.