MACON — Novelist Bharati Mukherjee will deliver the keynote address for the Women's History Month celebration at Mercer University at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29, in the Recital Hall of the McCorkle Music Building on the Macon campus. Her speech, entitled Transcultural Feminism: My Continuing Journey Towards Self-Empowerment, is free and open to the public.
"Bharati Mukherjee offers a unique perspective on the status of women today," said Mary Alice Morgan, professor of English and director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program at Mercer. "As a native of India, Mukherjee casts a critical eye at the patriarchy of traditional Hindu culture. At the same time, she critiques what she sees as the sometimes equally doctrinaire dictates of Western feminism. Her characters struggle with what it means to be truly free — as women and as individuals."
Born in Calcutta, India, and educated at the Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa, Mukherjee has been a keen analyst of the immigrant experience and has protested women's repression by such traditional practices as arranged marriage. At the same time, Mukherjee is an outspoken critic of what she calls the "Ms. Magazine [feminist] establishment and that establishment's imperialistic intolerance of non-Western modes of protest and self-valorization." Her controversial stances on cultural assimilation and feminism have made her both a lightning rod and mediating influence in today's cultural disputes.
Mukherjee is the author of six novels, The Tiger's Daughter (1972), Wife (1975), Jasmine (1989), The Holder of the World (1993), Leave It to Me (1997), and Desirable Daughters (2002). Her short story collection, The Middleman and Other Stories, was winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award for Best Work of Fiction in 1988. Mukherjee currently holds a Distinguished Professorship at the University of California, Berkeley. She received an M.F.A. and Ph.D. in English and comparative literature from the University of Iowa, and she is married to Canadian novelist Clark Blaise.
Founded in 1833, Mercer University has campuses in Macon and Atlanta as well as regional academic centers in Douglas County, Henry County, Macon and Eastman. With 10 schools and colleges, the University offers programs in liberal arts, business, engineering, education, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, law and theology. For 16 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Mercer University as one of the leading universities in the South. The Princeton Review has ranked it among the top 10 percent of colleges in the nation.
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