Final Colloquium by Ms. Cheshta Arora on 'Scientific, Technological and Gendered relations: An Ethnographic Study of Women Scientist, Engineers and Factory Workers'

National Institute of Advanced Studies

Indian Institute of Science Campus



Microsoft Teams Presentation


Final Colloquium



Title: Scientific, Technological and Gendered relations: An Ethnographic Study of Women

          Scientists, Engineers and Factory Workers


Candidate: Ms. Cheshta Arora

Advisor: Prof. Anitha Kurup

Date: Tuesday, 26 October, 2021

Time: 11:00 am

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The thesis draws from a year and a half long multi-sited ethnographic study of three empirically situated sites—1) a government space scientific research organization assembling satellites for the Indian State since 1970s (which I will call iSpace), 2) a workplace in Whitefield, Bengaluru which is part of the largest Indian multinational information technology (IT) service and consulting company founded in 1968 that I refer to as iTech and finally 3) an Industrial Modern Township, commonly called IMT Manesar, 60 km from Delhi and 21.4 km from Gurgaon, which is a planned cluster for automobile manufacturing.


Borrowing from Stengers’ (2009) notion of the figure of a scientist "where the scientist submits to a becoming that cannot be reduced to the simple possession of a knowledge" and Weeks’ appeal to envision an immanent political intervention within post-Fordist regimes of work, one that is "no longer about a self to save or to recover but one to invent" (Weeks, 2017, p. 248), the thesis weaves an affective relationship between different situations encountered at each field-site. At iSpace, I locate an articulation of exhaustion that informs the figure of a woman scientist and use this articulation to locate the limits of women in science discourse in India. At iTech, I identify a desire for im/mobility that informs the figure of the IT worker. This desire, the thesis contends, makes visible a horizontal relation between work/labour, life and urban, a relation that is obfuscated within the existing literature on IT work and Bengaluru. At IMT Manesar, where I  collaborated with Faridabad Majdoor Samachar—a collective that has been documenting the lives of  workers through its monthly newspaper in the industrial belt in and around Delhi for the last 30 years—I locate a horizontality of relations and how it influences the form and content of the newspaper, as opposed to a vertical relation between workers, unions, management and state. By engaging with the form and content of the Newspaper, I identify a crucial need to map the situatedness of situated knowledges.


An affective, ethnographic map of exhaustion, im/mobility and horizontality weaved together in the thesis offers an illustrative critique of existing debates within women studies in India on intersectionality while also locating the limits of existing debate on situated knowledges that is central to feminist (techno) science studies.


All are invited to attend

Tuesday, October 26, 2021