The women here are some of the first to challenge the status
quo and demand the right to own the title deeds to the land
Too long ago I received and then misplaced an email from TomPietrasik calling my attention to a newish blog he has begun keeping. Tom is a photographer based (mostly) in New Delhi and his blog posts consist in his reflections on various aspects of life there (e.g. status, literacy, politics) accompanied by his striking photography.
I lifted the image above from this series of Tom's work on the Panos web site. It struck me especially because I've just finished re-reading Amrtya Sen's Development as Freedom, a book I've assigned for my graduate seminar this fall. Sen's argument is that we need to assess development (or its absence) in terms of criteria broader than standard GNP or income. His argument is complex, but basically he sees development as defined by the "capabilities" people have to achieve things (what he terms "doings and beings") they have reason to value. And, in particular, he focuses on the ways that such matters as literacy or property ownership or participation in labor or credit markets are central to women's capabilities. In short, Sen sees gender equality in such terms not as instrumental to achieving development, but as constitutive of development. This picture of Tom's seems to capture that idea. While it may not be the most stunning of Tom's work (I am partial to the opening shot in this slide show) this image displays a pretty remarkable and subtle insight.
The punch line? Tom's blog is definitely worth a visit and so too are the various other of his presences on the web that I've linked to above.
Labels: New Blogs