A Report on the Annual Lecture Series at Maharaja Agrasen College, University of Delhi

Professor Savita Singh’s lecture titled, “Ecofeminism: Battling Environment Degradation” was part of a series of lectures organized annually by the Department of English at Maharaja Agrasen College since 2010. This event was held on 15 September 2017, in collaboration with FORTELL and SPHEEHA (Society for the Preservation of Healthy Environment, Ecology and Heritage of Agra). The Annual Lecture Series is a much-awaited department activity as it gives both students and faculty members the opportunity to benefit from the best minds in emerging fields of research.

The event opened with a short introduction by student coordinator Abhinav Anand, followed by a brief background of the Annual Lecture Series by Dr Gitanjali Chawla, Teacher-in-charge. The series had been graced earlier in the years 2010-2016 by Professor Jonathan Gil, Professor Madhavi Menon, Mr. Tabish Khair, Ms. Sukrita Paul Kumar, Professor Amritjit Singh, Professor Harish Trivedi, Professor R.W. Desai and Dr. Anjana Neira Dev. Dr. Prem Kumari Srivastava, Coordinator, formally welcomed the guest speaker, Professor Savita Singh, a renowned professor at the School of Gender and Development in IGNOU. Professor Singh has published extensively and has several books to her credit.

Professor Savita Singh traced the trajectory of historical and contemporary feminist issues in her talk on “Ecofeminism: Battling Environment Degradation”. She introduced the young audience first to the concepts of ecology and feminism, and then drew connections between them. She talked about Vandana Shiva’s book on ecofeminism in which she describes the all-round development of nature as anti-nature. Nature is home to many species with some now extinct, these have been put into the categories of biotechnology and nanotechnology. In the world of technology, scientists have produced a world similar to nature; however, they have also produced new creatures and new viruses without knowing how to control them. Her lecture engaged the students and evoked a passionate response, leading to a very interactive and vibrant question-answer session.

This was followed by a talk by Mrs. Dayal Ray from SPHEEHA who talked about the growth of SPHEEHA, from being an organization in Agra to being an organization in “Areas”. At the end of the workshop, Professor Singh and Mrs. Ray distributed prizes for a creative writing competition held on 13 September 2017 on the topic “Women and Environment”. This had been sponsored by SPHEEHA.

The lecture ended with a formal vote of thanks delivered by Dr. Charu Arya, wherein she expressed her gratitude to Professor Savita Singh and the members of SPHEEHA.

Charu Arya is Assistant Professor, Department of English, Maharaja Agrasen College, University of Delhi. Her research areas are Dalit writings, translations in Dalit writings, gender studies, women writings, and oral narratives and folk literature of Uttarakhand.